Being the new girl at a military post is at times daunting and also sort of nice. We have new neighborhoods, new neighbors, new stores (well, different), new schools, new commissary, new clinics – all within our reach and which we have to learn to navigate. We can leave behind acquaintances we didn’t care for and start fresh and anew.
My husband and I came to Fort Carson in August and although we’re Colorado natives, we’re not native to the Springs. The area has a sweet familiarity because the Rockies are to the west and the 4-wheel drive vehicles and hippies are abundant. Our friends from college are still in the same Denver suburbs, but most don’t understand the military lifestyle. They try, but it’s just…well, you know…different from what they understand it to be.
This is the first post we’ve moved to with children – well, when we moved we had one and I was pregnant with #2 – which presented a slew of other concerns. Who is going to watch my toddler during my OB appointments which children are not welcome to attend and my husband is at work? Yes, there are other spouses I know from other duty stations that are here, but I have to weigh if I feel comfortable asking them for such a favor. So now what? How do I make FRIENDS?!
The brigade is brand new so there isn’t an established FRG. So immediately my mind turns to how am I going to get connected. How am I going to meet people? And in turn, how am I going to make friends? The kind of friends that I can call to vent about the slow line at the pharmacy or the ones who will come over just for a coffee chat. Or a friend to just be a friend to…where will they be?
Every one of us has left behind friends we wished fit into our luggage so we could always have them with us at the next post. We may keep in touch via Facebook, email and phone calls, but it’s never quite the same. The friends who we went through one or more deployments with are the ones we call upon when things get tough or we need reassurance we’re not the crazy one.
So far the friends I’ve made here are the wives of soldiers my husband works with. We had a get-together during football season and invited a big group over. As the ladies and I chatted in the kitchen, I remember looking at them and thinking, “Huh…so these are my girlfriends now.” Luckily they are wonderful ladies and I am truly, truly lucky. But I was hesitant. And I was nervous we wouldn’t get along, have anything in common or just flat out not like each other. Now we chat over text, see each other on weekends, and call each other about random things or details of the next weekend get-together.
What’s the best part? They came to the hospital after my son was born. They brought flowers, sweet gifts, and offered meals. They call or text me just to see how I’m doing with the new baby and if I need anything from the commissary. Not only that, when we all hang out together, they love on my babies. They chase my toddler and burp the little one. I’m humbled and appreciative beyond words. I didn’t know what that felt like until it happened. A recent friend loving on the most precious little people in my life…it’s a sweet, genuine gift.
Do these ladies know what jobs I’ve had or what my degree is in? Do they know my inner self, my hopes and dreams or deep, dark secrets? No. That may come in time. But they are present with me right now at this time. So as much as I long for close proximity with friends who do know all those things about me, I am grateful for the women here and hope I can return the favor or pay it forward. We have to be a friend to have a friend.
A mother of two and a Colorado Native, she grew up in suburbia Denver and met her husband in college at Regis University. They were best friends for years before he kissed her and well…as they say, the rest is history. He joined the Army after they graduated in 2002, so they moved several times and just came back from living overseas. Being gone for over 10 years, Colorado is still their home and they feel so good to be back!