As we have gotten settled back into life here in Georgia I was realizing the need for Emerson to have some social interaction with kids his age, so I started taking him to the playground on a regular basis. He, just like I expected, is doing quite well at learning the social skills needed in a toddler's world. What I wasn't really expecting to find at the playground were moms who live in a military community to be so dissatisfied with their levels of social interactions with other adults.
Even though Jeremiah has been in the army for over seven years, we are really just now getting the true active duty experience because the first 5 years he was in, he was a reservist. I figured that because military families relocate on a regular basis they would be quick to open up and make new friends; what I have found is the exact opposite. When I take the boys to the playground, I see other moms, including myself, looking for some adult conversation. So many times, we will say to one another that we should get together sometime but then it never happens. This week I decided to change that.
As the kids were running around having a grand ol' time, we moms managed to maintain small talk of the kids and weather. One mom had recently just "got here" in June. June may not seem like that long ago, but 6 months should be long enough for someone to at least start to feel like they are settling in. Knowing how I had lived here for a year without making too many friends and feeling settled myself, I asked her how things were going and if she liked it here. Her response was, "Yeah, it's hard." Guessing I probably knew what she was meaning I asked the group of surrounding moms if they ever find it strange that military families keep to themselves. They all agreed and from there, the level of interest in the conversation immediately changed. I could see and hear relief in some of their voices; they knew they weren't the only ones seeking something deeper. We laughed about how we have cell phone numbers of other moms and say we are going to call but then a couple of weeks pass and, by then, it is too awkward to call. So, right then and there, I seized the moment to set a date to get together. I laughed to myself as I could see we were all just trying to play it cool and not act like giddy girls who had just made new friends. Tomorrow, our kids will play, we will have some girl time, and who knows, it may be the start of new lifelong friendships.
If you are or have been a military family, what has been your experience with families socializing with one another?