An old phrase that’s spoken by army spouses is “Bloom where you’re planted.” Basically, we don’t really have a say in where we live, but when we get there, it’s our choice, and our responsibility to bloom.
We move to foreign countries where the locals despise us. We move to states that feel like foreign countries (that’s my shout-out to Rucker…). We move to states far away from our family. We buy houses in places where the taxes make us gag and the utility bills make us vomit a little bit. But we have the ability to take these places and within just a week or so, and a few hundred unpacked boxes, we make a home.
We bloom wherever we’re planted.
In my experience, I would argue that friendships between military spouses are a special bond that sometimes you can’t understand unless you have one. Military spouses understand what you mean when you say that you wish your husband would deploy already so you could just start the time away, that way they’re home sooner. They understand when you say that you’re tired because you heard a noise in the middle of the night that sounded like a knock, and now you can’t get back to sleep. Military spouses understand that tripping over boots in the entryway is a good thing. We bond faster, and stay friends longer. We’re forced together, strangers in a strange land, and we find our own battle buddies to wage our own little war here on the homefront.
I have been especially blessed with amazing spouse friends. It was another military wife who sat with me in those hours after Jason was injured, when I waited for news if his eyesight would be saved. It was a military spouse who held my hand in a Fort Carson parking lot when he loaded a bus after volunteering to go back. Military spouses taught me where to shop in Germany. Military spouses sat with me when morning sickness wouldn’t let me go further than the bathroom. Military spouses sat with me in stunned silence when the doc told me that something was definitely wrong with Brody. Military spouses helped me hang up signs when we lost Layla, and it was military spouses who helped me inspect my house, paint my house and move into my house. It’s been military spouses I’ve sat next to at memorials, watching our sisters suffer the unimaginable. We are a sisterhood like no other, because we endure the unspeakable together.
Tonight, I said goodbye to my closest friend here at Fort Drum. I handed her goodies for her car ride, hugged her, wished her a safe drive and then slid into my car.
Then I cried.
The problem with Blooming where you’re planted is that we grow. We grow like vines, climbing over our obstacles, and reaching out to hold on. A lot of the time, we’re holding on to each other. So when one of us leaves, there’s a tear that takes place. A rending in our hearts, an ache in our soul. This happens so many times, so frequently that it is both a blessing and a curse. I have fabulous friends all over this world. Friends with whom I have shared countless experiences. They live in Germany, California, Alabama, Colorado, California, Kansas, New York. We are blessed to have such friends, and we are cursed to always be saying goodbye. Blessed to have such big hearts, cursed that pieces of it are taken all over the globe.
So we send our friends off to their new duty stations, and we tell them to bloom where they’re planted, because we want the best for them. We say goodbye, we console our children that they have lost another playmate, and we write another address down in pencil in our address books. Then we go about patching up the hole’s that person’s absence has left, because it’s what we do. We grow in another direction until the next PCS moves us yet again.
So to my Running Woman, I say good luck. Colorado is lucky to have you, almost as lucky as I have been to have known you. The good news is that you’re in my home territory now, so I know we’ll see each other again. Bloom where you’re planted, darling. I know you will. I know you’ll outshine every other girl there with your grace, your kindness and your sheer radiance. I’ll cry for me, because I’ll miss you, but I won’t cry for you. There are bigger and better challenges for you to tackle and now there are real mountains to climb.
And besides, nothing in the military is permanent. It’s not “goodbye,” it’s just “see you later.”
Bloom, baby, bloom!