Close, but not “Too” close

15 Nov

I hear it from just about every spouse I meet, so I wonder if this is a common mentality. If so, what about military life creates this way of thinking? “When we retire or get out, we are moving back home but not too close to family.” Funny thing is, I say the same thing! I love my family to death, but something about not living near them for 20 years just kinda makes us want to maintain a certain level of space.

My husband and I can’t wait for the day we can drive to visit over long weekends. Better yet, share holidays with our whole family! Our children have only spent one Christmas with one set of grandparents and that was when they were two and a newborn. However, we want there to be enough distance where planning is required (please no surprise visits), but plane tickets are no longer needed.

Close enough to visit, but far enough to breathe.

I can’t help but wonder if our way of thinking has to do with family drama and us always being outside the bubble of having to deal with it. Sure we may hear about it over the phone and receive e-mails full of words in all caps, but at the end of the day we go to sleep at night not having to be there in person. I know I LOVE it!! I can hear about what is happening, provide my two cents on the topic, then wait to hear what happened. I know it sounds bad, but I really do dread being close enough to have to deal with drama when it happens.

Would family members be offended if they knew how we felt? I’m sure some. (Hope I don’t offend mine) Our families miss so much of our lives and generally only see us when we plan trips home, so they can’t wait for the day we move “back home.” How can we expect them to understand our desire to move near them, but not “visit every weekend” near them?

Personally, I don’t worry so much about offending them. Sure they may be shocked or a little confused when we don’t move next door. However, the frill and excitement of having us home will eventually wear off and everyone will go back to their routines of work, school, and home. Before I know it, life will require us to book appointments and mark the calenders in order to gather as a family. I can see it now, it will be as if we were always home during those whole 20 years.

So am I wrong when I think most military families do not want to move real close to family when their service is over? How do you feel? What are your plans when the time comes?

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2 Responses to “Close, but not “Too” close”

  1. Tony November 16, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    This holds true to my family as well. The military is a unique place. No other place in America, from the largest metropolis to the smallest of towns, will you find such a crash of cultures, personalities and lifestyles all living in relative harmony. At first it is a bit intimidating, but soon we find that most of us share something unique, and in no time we begin to embrace our differences. As the years pass by, not only do we get accustomed to such a contrast, we fully embrace it and it becomes a small part of who we are. For me at least, the “sameness” and familiarity of spending time my relative back at my original home becomes dull and after a short while a bit annoying (sorry mom). I find that my “civilian” family can’t quite understand my new way of life and after an extended period of time (usually about a week) it begins to get awkward. In my case, in order to preserve a no-so-frustrating relationship with my “civilian” family a little space is needed. I think this is why most of us choose to live close to but not too close.

    • Kelly Larson, MBA November 16, 2011 at 7:12 am #

      Great point Tony! I have to agree! I love my Military Family and I completely agree life will be rather dull when we chose to retire and settle down in one place! Thank goodness for today’s technology and our ability remain in contact with those who made an impact on our life!

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