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Family Matters Blog: Military Lifestyle Allows Blogger to Reconnect

Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2010 – Vivian, a Navy veteran and spouse, regularly guest blogs for Family Matters and shares her experiences as a spouse of a sailor and a mother of two. Her husband, a Navy lieutenant, recently returned from Iraq and she has two boys who, she says, "enjoy peanut butter, trucks and air shows."

In this blog, Vivian writes about reconnecting with another Navy spouse through her boys' soccer league.

Picking Up Where You Left Off

by Vivian


Recently, my husband and I took our boys to register for the upcoming soccer season. There are a couple of firsts for us with this latest venture into organized sports.

This is the first time my husband will be home to actually participate and attend practices and games. He missed last year's forays into soccer and tee ball because he was deployed. Thankfully, our family, friends, and neighbors filled in as sideline cheerleaders, co-trainers, and drivers. And of course, I wrote about the "cup" incident in "Spouse Looks Forward to Husband's Return." So, the fact he is here to not only support, but help coach has both me and the kids very excited. 


This also is the first time our youngest will be playing an organized sport, well, besides the well-played, orchestrated strategy he has to collect every screw and bolt in the house. Seriously, I live in fear of sitting in a chair and having it fall apart under me. Trust me though, I'm just now realizing the dueling practice and game schedules, or I might have reconsidered making him wait another year to start. Mental note: I should have had my kids closer together so as to increase the likelihood they could have played for the same teams throughout childhood.  

So, that is how we ended up in the crowded library conference room, with the dull roar of all our future soccer stars in the background, to hear all about requirements, schedules, and most importantly, how to get our kids on their friends' teams before the teams were finalized. I was bending down to quiet our youngest son with a bag of peanuts I had left over in my purse, when Mike poked me to say he had just seen one of his old squadron mates walk in. And sure enough, when I stood up to look, there he was.


This is one of the most awesome "perks" of this military lifestyle to me. The ability to randomly run into people you haven't seen for years and immediately pick up where you've left off and keep that conversation running. I think the last time I saw Mike's squadron mate's wife I was at the shower for my oldest child. He will turn seven in March. But in the instant I saw him, I immediately began reminiscing -- not about the last time I saw him and his wife, but one of the first.


Mike deployed shortly after we were married. It was early December, so I was actually glad my duty section rotation fell to where I had the Christmas Eve shift. You can imagine how much it lifted my spirits when, at the next spouse club meeting, we found out about the possibility of traveling over to Italy to meet the ship for a port call. A huge group of us flew over together and that trip became several couples' de facto honeymoons, ourselves included. I sat by Shauna and two other girls on the plane and we spent most of the time in Venice, Italy, together as a group, sight-seeing, discovering a wonderful drink called a Bellini, and just getting to know each other.


The next year we attended their wedding and shortly after that they moved.


Kids, moving – life -- has gotten in the way of keeping up with each other that much, I'm sorry to say. However, the Navy and the recreational soccer league have given us a chance to reconnect and I fully intend to take the opportunity. We both have kids now and probably don't get a chance to drink as many Bellinis, so I'm really looking forward to picking up that conversation again.


The military induces a lot of moving. In fact, because of the mobile lifestyle of military families, we are about three times more likely to move than our civilian peers. However, the bonus part is that, chances are, you'll already know somebody wherever you are going. The real problem, of course, is to get your kids on the same soccer team so you can carpool.

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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