If you’ve followed what I write on here for more than a day you might see that I usually use my personal experiences as fodder for my posts, this one is no different.
****Mandatory disclaimer***** I’m not an expert by any means, but I did stay in a Motel 6 once so I’ve got that going for me.
Frequently people ask “what should I do when my servicemember doesn’t want to visit or doesn’t like his siblings?” My answer is always “give it time and don’t force it.” I still generally think this is the best advice but I want to give you perspective on what it’s like to be the servicemember in question.
A little background: I’m the eldest sibling, the overachiever, the one my parents always knew would be successful (their words), I’m 60 days from my Masters and no one else even tried college, and most importantly I’m the one with my S*** together (again their words). My siblings… well not so much, because of this there has been a rift between them and I for going on 15 years. I have predominantly did it all without the assistance of them, while my siblings have relied on the to the point of my parents putting themselves into massive debt for them.
For these and a host of other reasons I dread going home. I know when I do it will just end in a fight or someone getting upset. This past weekend that is exactly what happened. My sister and her kids seemed to spend an exorbitant amount of time at my parents; not a big deal but when I’m home less than 7 days a year usually personally I want the time of my parents for myself, selfish I know but it’s how I feel. We even went so far as to express that on a few occasions and it was either not understood or outright ignored.
If your servicemember is courageous enough to point blank ask for your time maybe you should oblige. I realize my parents are getting older and living 1500 miles away means I miss a lot. I don’t want to end up regretting that I didn’t spend enough time when I had the chance.
Second is scheduling things, this is my vacation. I understand it is a big deal when your servicemember comes home but if I wanted everything planned for me I would have A let Catherine plan it and B would have went somewhere fun like Disneyland. Things such as mandatory family photos, birthday dinners, BBQ’s etc are not how I want to spend my vacation.
When these two situations combine it’s like a powder keg and all it needs is a spark to ignite, and that’s exactly what happened. My sister is… difficult and it didn’t end well. We ended up leaving without a goodbye, and at this time have no want or desire to return.
The point of all this is before you blame your servicemember for not wanting to visit maybe you should peel back the onion and find out WHY they are choosing not to. I understand I’m a bit older and a tiny bit more mature than the average servicemember but if my parents were to ever ask me why I didn’t want to come I would point blank tell them, and I think the majority of servicemembers would also. Don’t just automatically blame them or the military, take a hard look because sometimes it’s not us.
If you need anything or need someone to talk to I’m always around.