Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Missing Out?

I'm having one of those insecure days where I question myself.

Are my kids missing out??

I sometimes think that they are too lonely.

Not that our house is ever quiet or that anyone has a lack of companionship.

But, I sometimes think that they are missing some important social bonds.

And it's not that I think they are "unsocialized" because we homeschool.

It's a combination of things.

First, we're a military family. We move around every few years and most of the people we meet and know also move around - not usually at the same time.

The result of that is we move somewhere, meet new people, they move, we meet some more people, then we move. Then the cycle starts all over again.

Not being in school makes it take a little bit longer for the kids to form bonds with other kids - just because of the lack of daily interaction.

And whenever we know we're leaving within the next 6 months, we usually just "check out" mentally. Who wants to make the effort to meet new people when you know you're going to be gone. Sad, but true. We're at that point right now.

Then there is the fact that we're never near any family. It's been 3 years since I've been home to Washington. The younger kids don't even remember spending a few months at Grandma's house before we moved up here. :( It makes me sad that we don't spend birthday parties and graduations and such with them.

Even if we did live near home, my kids have NO cousins. None. By the time my siblings have kids, my older kids will be too old to enjoy growing up with them.

I know that there are plenty of military families that move around. And plenty of kids that grow up without cousins.

Andy was an Army brat and a preacher's kid. He moved all of the time. He attended a zillion different schools. And he turned out okay. :)

I guess the only reason it bugs me, is that I grew up in one place. I graduated with people I went to Kindergarten with. I have over 30 first cousins - most of them around my age and who lived nearby.

Part of me is sad that my kids won't have that common bond with others their age. They won't be able to reminisce with their cousins about the Thanksgiving they were snowed in. They can't go to their high school reunion and talk about that time that so-and-so got in trouble in 3rd grade.

Am I just being silly or is that something that other people think about??

I just wonder how it would be to be an adult that didn't have anyone (other than their siblings) that they grew up with.

Like most people, I've been on Facebook, reconnecting with people I went to school with. I just sometimes wonder - who will they reconnect with?? :(

I'm sure that they will turn out fine. But these are the things I think about when everyone else in the house is asleep...


Christina said...

It's a trade-off. You have to think of the benifits, the experiences your kids have over others, not of the thigs they miss out on. And they are growing up with Facebook and the wonder of the internet, unlike us. The older ones will surely maintain a few connections when you leave AK. Working at a DoDDS high school I see the almost grown military children and they are socially adjusted for the most part. They seem to maintain their childhood resilience. And you know how much better educated, and therefore set up for adult success your kids will be. If you haven't seen any problems with them misunderstanding social cues by now, you're doing just fine. They will be better prepared than their counterparts who have common exploits with the same 30 kids for their whole childhood. Reassuring??
And hey, my kids are in a public school and they're still socially inept, so what the hell...

SmallWorld at Home said...

I'm thinking when you move to Savannah, you'll be able to find a good HS support group. I know that doesn't sound like much, but you hopefully will be looking at co-op classes and all kinds of good stuff. We have 240 families in our group, representing way over 600 kids. Homeschooling is big in the south.

(Neither my husband nor I have any cousins, btw, or at least not ones within 20 years of us!)

Kristi said...

I think about that too. The island was such a "special" place to grow up. I mean really, we rode the same bus from kindy through high school. Really? How many people can say that? ;) My kids have no cousins either. And honestly? I feel a bit cheated by it. David want to be the "cool uncle who spoils them" but does not want his own kids at all (long story) My brother-in-law is Navy and has been in England for the last 3 years and they also have no children. Maybe some day but not right now. Anyway, that was the long way of saying, "nope, you're not alone".

Thank you guys for the sacrifice that you make for the rest of us. Your kids are awesome and will continue to be so!

Jennifer said...

Thanks you guys for making me feel better! I know I have my silly moments when I don't have anyone to talk to and reassure me :)

@Christina - You're right. They are going to have so many more experiences and chances to travel compared to kids growing up in one place.

@Sarah - I just joined a Savannah Homeschoolers yahoo group and it looks so promising. Lots of activities and a co-op and clubs. I'm hoping to jump right in as soon as we get there. I know that part of my worries are only because we're at the end of our tour here. We're ready for some new adventures!

@Kristi - You're right. The island was such a special little community to grow up in. My brother David doesn't want kids either! Jeff is getting married this summer though and Andrea got married last year, so I have some hope for the future!