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Squad Up!

V-bucks, bushes, storm chests, flossing, tilted towers. You know what I’m talking about.

FORTNITE.

Let the record show that I fought this sweeping obsession from Day 1. Because guns! Which, honestly, is my knee-jerk reaction to most video games. Unless we’re talking about Super Mario Brothers, in which case, hand the controller over, Mama’s gonna find those invisible blocks, warp to world 8 and save the princess.

Clint grew up in a video game-free home and would spend hours at his friends’ houses playing Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, and still making up for lost time, can be found working against the shrinking eye as much as our kids. So, I’ve been on my own, fighting the infiltration of this evil into our peaceful home.

And then I heard it one day. My son shouted into his headset, “Bro, let’s squad up!”

That phrase stopped me in my spaghetti sauce stirring tracks. My teenager was not isolating himself, going solo, destined to become a life-long gamer without social interaction. Nope, not at all. He wanted to squad up. Be a team. Fighting together.

Sometimes it can be difficult to get more than a few sentences out of him these days but strap that headset on and it’s a different story. The chatter is nonstop between he and his buds. Strategizing, encouraging, connecting and whooping it up in general. It’s actually a strangely beautiful sight.

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I’ve lived much of my married life as an outsider to the military community. As a newlywed, I struggled to connect with other Navy wives. For one, I had a job and no kids while most wives in our community stayed home chasing their toddlers and feeding babies. I just didn’t fit in, or maybe I didn’t want to. As a submariner’s wife, I only wanted to stay in our newlywed cocoon because he could head out to sea at a moment’s notice.

I’ll be fine.

And then we had kids. And then we moved away from all friends and family. And we found a church. And then our kids made friends. And I did laundry. And dishes. And drove them around to soccer practice. And then Clint deployed.

I’ll be fine.

More foolish words have never been spoken.

In certain seasons of my life I’ve been a part of tightknit groups; beautiful communities of families pitching in to help each other with kids and dinner. But military moves can change all that in an instant.

Starting over.

I’m different, I told myself. I’m capable. I’m strong. I’m a Navy Wife. I can do this.

Deployment, PCS moves, duty and the general sense of uncertainty the military lifestyle brings can become the breaking point on top of normal, everyday stress like bickering kids, sickness, schedules and car repairs.

I wasn’t fine.

Someone needed to bring me pizza.

Someone needed to sit on the couch with me and laugh.

Someone needed to take my kid and entertain him for a couple hours.

Admitting that and finding friends in a new city with new faces was HARD. But it’s the bravest thing I’ve ever done.

While eating a turkey sandwich and barbecue chips solo on the couch with Monica and Chandler as company was tempting, I had to speak up. Those television friends wouldn’t be there for me if I had to run to Urgent Care or needed a carpool.

Here’s the secret I’ve learned: everyone is just waiting for the invitation. They want to come over, go to lunch and hang in the backyard. Face-to-face daily friends to laugh with and connect with are vital and SO worth getting off the couch for! Sharing life together eases life’s burdens but you have to start somewhere; maybe a friend you met at church or a neighbor. It’s time to take that brave next step:

Make the call.

Invite her over.

Go to lunch.

No more excuses. Sometimes we have to learn lessons from the kids:

Girls, grab a friend and SQUAD UP!

 

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10 Comments

  1. Wendi on June 8, 2018 at 4:07 am

    I can totally relate as I have found it very hard sometimes to “fit in.” Venturing out of my comfort zone and inviting others s to do things has helped me make lasting friendships. All it takes is that one invite.



    • Kara Ludlow on June 8, 2018 at 7:51 am

      Wendi, always worth it though! 🙂



  2. hannahgracebecker on June 8, 2018 at 5:36 am

    What a great post, Kara! Like you, as a new military spouse, I didn’t prioritize friendships. My spouse’s deployment/training schedule was insane, I was in school + working, and it just seemed like taking the time to meet new people would bring more stress. Ended up, not having friendships within the military community was incredibly stressful! By Year Two, I’d learned the importance of having a military-affiliated tribe :). Now, some of my closest friends are fellow military spouses. It’s so important! Thanks for sharing!!!



    • Kara Ludlow on June 8, 2018 at 8:09 am

      Sounds like we both had to learn the hard way 😉 So glad you found your squad!



  3. Rebekah on June 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Love this post! First, because I my 13 and 16 yr old boys do not get along much of the time. But they DO play Fortnite together and they love it. And my 13 yr old who doesn’t have the easiest time making friends is indeed playing and strategizing with them daily now. So I’m all for it.
    But also, to the main point of your post, kuddos to you for stepping out of that comfort zone and reaching out. It’s so hard! But it often ends up being so rewarding. It’s a good message for us all to remember. Thanks for sharing!!



    • Kara Ludlow on June 10, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Rebekah, funny how the game brings out sibling cooperation, but us moms will take it!



  4. upliftinganchor on June 11, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I’m currently in the process of needing to Squad UP yet again, and I believe at this post…I’m going to need to get creative! But I feel like it will work out- and admitting I need a friend is the first step in finding them!



    • Kara Ludlow on June 11, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      You got this! Amazing how even just finding one friend you can call and count on makes all the difference!



  5. Heidi Fulker on June 11, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Kara I love this!! One because hello you had me at Mario Brothers. But so many other awesome points you share! I’m not always good at reaching out. I love making new friends but the first couple steps are always the hardest and it’s easy to feel like an outsider. I’m naturally an introvert too and I have to work hard to be outgoing and not just hang solo. Thanks for sharing your experience!! Loved reading 😘



    • Kara Ludlow on June 11, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks for stopping by to read, Heidi! Love you, girl!