I have two very, very close friends that my boys call "Aunt". We have known each other since we were five-years-old. We started Kindergarten together. We chose the same high school. We lived with each other through college. We cried over boys together. We figured out make-up together (well, I'm still figuring it out). We celebrated birthdays - many, many birthdays. We cried over break-ups. We watched each other make mistakes and helped to pick each other up from them. We celebrated each other's successes. They stood beside me at my wedding.
All three of us love that city. All three of us always thought our children would grow up together. All three of us just assumed we would have the same things.
Logan will meet his preschool teacher tomorrow - at a new school. Last year at this time he was walking up the steps to my preschool. Last year at this time I took a picture of him standing on grass that I stood on and smiled while wearing my little backpack. Last year I got a glimpse of "my plan".
I'm not upset that he is going to a different place than the one I know. I am not upset that the way I planned it isn't the same as how He planned it. I am hurting because I know that my sons will never have the same experience I had. My boys will never have the friends that they know and see everyday for nearly twenty years. My heart is breaking because Logan is three and this is his second school. My heart is breaking because I wonder who will stand beside him at his wedding. I wonder who will know him the way those two women know me. My heart is breaking because he won't have these same two people that I have.
I've thought about it before and have always swept that to the back of my mind - because I can't change it. Because in no way - in the most perfect of military circumstances - can I give that to my children.
I know that children are resilient. I know that military children don't know it any other way - that they are all going through the same thing. That - like so many things - it will be "normal" as far as they know. But I want to give that stability to my boys - the same grammar school, same high school. Two schools. Period. I want them to have the same friends that they know through it all. I want to give them what I had. And I can't.
I feel like I took that from them. I feel guilty that they won't know that.
Today is one of those days - one of those days when we have to once again acknowledge that this life is really, really hard. That there are parts that we really, really want to change and can't.
Tomorrow I will enjoy seeing him meet his classmates. Tomorrow I will be so very thankful that Logan and Eli have such a special friendship that will be a constant in this changing life. Tomorrow I will find the strength. But today I want to give them the beauty of what I had and still have. Many, many tomorrows from now I will find the beauty that must come from the friendships he will make along the way - with other kids whose mommies and daddies are also part of something bigger. I know I will find it - because He wouldn't bring me to a place that didn't have it.
It's another part I am learning. Another part that we will all learn through. Another part that will show us what we are made of.
We'll find the beauty along the way.