homegrown mama

::life lessons::

In family, military life on 20112011-10-28T09:30:25+00:0031 9/11 at 09:30

…the biggest (and hardest) lesson I’ve learned since being here…is contentedness

Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if Wayne hadn’t joined the Army. I’d probably be working full-time to help pay our mortgage, and we’d have only one child (because daycare for two kids on the West Coast costs more than I would make if I was working!). Plus, knowing me and my perfectionist tendencies, I’d be a stressed ball of nerves trying to balance work and family, torn by the need to work and guilt from not spending enough time at home. I’d have the luxury of family living close-by, but also a fast-paced life that affords little down time; I’m sure I’d feel obligated to “do/be/get more” all the time.

And so, the biggest (and hardest) lesson I’ve learned since being here actually has nothing to do with the military: it’s contentedness. That’s not to say I don’t become a green-eyed monster from time to time, or that I’m not tempted to whip out a credit card for something I want but don’t really need/can afford. However, it is an entirely humbling experience to be told where to live, when to arrive, and not knowing when we’ll be leaving. On top of that, I am responsible to set up my children for success by enrolling them in activities and building relationships with people who can contribute to our family, and their lives.

Thankfully, we have been so blessed in this area. I admit that when we arrived in Manitoba, I felt lost. I didn’t know how to get “my old life” back, to feel like I was home. But then I realized, this is my life, and this is our new home. Gone were the days of endless home décor options, the latest fashion trends, and the coolest car in the neighbourhood. No one here, except me, expected our active social life, meticulously decorated home, and deep-rooted friendships to suddenly ring the doorbell and join us in our new house. I found that this new life, and connecting with new people, had three simple requirements: commitment, authenticity, and a little hospitality.

I’m certain that one of the best parts of living the military life is meeting new people. In the year-and-a-half I’ve lived in Manitoba, I’ve met some amazing folks from all over this country who have ended up here in Westman, people I now consider life-long friends. Some are CF members, some are CF spouses, and some are people from church, mom’s groups, and general community life. It’s been so refreshing to hear the celebrations, and the struggles, of other families, too. And even when it feels like everyone else has life all figured out, they always seem grateful to chat about their most recent challenges and experiences when I invite them in for a cup of tea.

And what do you know? It seems like I now have more time to do just that.

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