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