How many of you knew that National Best Friends Day was June 8th? I had no idea this day existed. Yet, it certainly got me thinking about friendships. I am the mother of a 6-year old daughter, and I always tell her:
- “You don’t need to have just one best friend.”
- “It is important to be kind to everyone.”
- “You should have lots of friends who are the best.”
As mothers, it is essential to practice what we preach. Children, especially little girls, are always watching us, listening to our conversations, and emulating us. I can honestly tell you I do not have one best friend. I have many friends from across the world who are the best women I could ever hope to have in my life.
Who are these women? They are women who continue to teach me about military spouse life and mentor me throughout various careers. They are the ones who were there when I was pregnant and on bed rest. They are willing to take my child and pet at a moment’s notice during emergencies. They welcomed me in a foreign country. They stood by me as I struggled with fears and anxieties. They held my hand through the loss of loved ones and were by my side while making many college-aged mistakes. These women completed nursing school with me as a middle-aged adult surrounded by 20-somethings. These friends understood when my first true love, my yellow lab, died. They need no explanation as to why southern girls love college football, saying “bless your heart” and monograms. They invited me as a newcomer to a party. They included my child in playdates and activities when we were new to town. These friends notice when something isn’t right despite the smile on my face. They have been, and continue to be, alongside me in the trenches of the military spouse, mom, and career life.
My circle of friends is diverse and covers all walks of life. A rainbow of races, ethnicities, nationalities, and cultures make up the group. Their personalities are equally as colorful. They come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Many of my close friends are military spouses. I also have lifelong friends from my journey who are civilians, including college friends, fellow moms, co-workers, and neighbors.
As military families, unfortunately, we are viewed by many as temporary members of the community. We move often, and people expect us to leave. Sadly, some people would rather not have us in their lives. I am consistently the new neighbor, the new mom, the new spouse, the new co-worker, the new girl. My daughter is always the new kid on the block and at school. However, we have lots of love, support, friendship, and life experiences to share. Maybe once you get to know us, you will realize:
- We are so much more on the inside than you see on the outside.
- We are so much more than just a mother and daughter.
- We are so much more than just a military family.
Six military moves have taught me so much more about this crazy life than I ever imagined possible. The military lifestyle has provided me a unique opportunity as a parent to teach my daughter so much more about life, friendship, and kindness. We have both become experts at adapting to change and overcoming challenges. Ultimately, we have both learned it is so much more meaningful to have many friendships than to have one best friend.