We locked eyes across the sand and just knew we were destined to be besties.
Our kids were both happily engaged in building sand castles while we connected over a love of running and New England cuisine. The four of us were soon inseparable. Whether it was our almost daily dinners to co-parenting the two littles, logging miles in the sunshine or wine tasting, we did it together.
Until one day we couldn’t.
The military was moving us apart, even though we did everything together.
5 Things I Do When I Miss My Friend So Much It Hurts
Luckily, instant messages and texting make some of the miles disappear. Without these, I would truly be lost.
Today, I got to message my friend for hours! Thanks to a nighttime feeding for her and an opposite time zone for me, we shared photos and videos of our children. I got to tell her about my new adventure and new baby. She told me all about her new job and new baby. We told inside jokes and remembered fun times.
It was almost like I was sitting on the couch next to her!
Every time I log on to social media, I get to step back into my friends’ lives. I can watch the new baby growing up or share the joy of the first day of school. We exclaim over a child’s new haircut or share recommendations for that next duty station.
We are so connected online that it makes it slightly easier to be apart. And while everyone else is using these platforms, military spouses take social media to a whole new level!
So much of our community is built on sharing our lives online. Whether we are posting for friends or reaching out to faraway family, social media is our go-to tool. Whole virtual communities and groups exist to assist military families far and wide.
Being able to watch our babies grow together, even if we are apart, makes it a little bit easier.
My little one has a picture on the fridge. It’s tattered and worn around the edges from frequent handling. The paper is crumpled from where she hugs it too. But I won’t be tossing it in the trash.
It’s from her far away best friend and she treasures it. Each time she looks at it, she remembers him. I love that she feels this connection, even when we are far apart.
Sending care packages helps me to stay connected to everyone I love. Whether I am sending funny postcards to my mom or loading up on local treats for my friends, there is usually a package going somewhere!
Getting mail from home also helps to build that same connection. Seeing pictures of my hometown or being able to mix up Hoo-Mee Chow Mein makes the miles seem less, somehow. It’s almost like I’m right there when the smells of home-cooking waft through my kitchen or when my children wear clothes picked out with love by family members.
Even though I miss my friends from home and from our past duty stations, I know that I can find that magic again.
A new friend is out there, just waiting to connect with me over coffee or our kids or running or anything.
I can create another amazing friendship and share new experiences and adventures.
And so I don’t hide in my house, missing the past. Instead, I’m embracing growing my circle and trying new things on for size. I found a new friend here. We combine forces to wrangle our children and we share dinners but have so far skipped running together.
Today, while I was chatting with my far away bestie, we started planning for the future. Not the military’s future either. Our own future. We are taking the bull by the horns and making serious plans to find a way to meet up.
We’ve laid out our potential schedules for the next year and are trying to find a time and place to combine forces again.
Whether I go to her, she comes to me or we meet in the middle, this is going to work. And it is going to be amazing.
When we said goodbye, her son turned to my daughter and said: “You’re my best friend, no matter what.”
With tears in our eyes, we hugged and whispered the exact same thing.
We are friends, no matter what.