My husband is in the midst of one of the most common military traditions there is….he’s waiting for his next set of Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders. Along with him, I wait. My kids wait too. We all know they’re coming. We’ve been anticipating them since the day we moved here three years ago. On one hand PCSing is the most concrete and consistent part of the military life; on the other it is the most fluctuating and uncertain parts of the military life. So, while I wait and wonder about what the Navy has in store for us next, I will write.
I have several non-military friends who know that our move is coming up soon and they all ask the question, “Do you know when you are moving yet?” My response is usually, “No. Well, yes… sort of. Not really, but probably we think this summer.” And their response is usually <partially open mouth to ask the next question and questioning eyes searching for what the next question should be> “Oh. That must be stressful.” And it is. It is stressful to not know the “when” and the “where” (never mind the “how”) of our next move. But a PCS is so much more than just stress, it’s a great big ball of conflicting emotions!
There is the strong and all-consuming desire to know, no matter what the orders say, to just know, where and when we are going next. This strong desire just to know means my husband answers the same question every.single.day: “Have you heard from the detailer yet?” If he is able to skirt around that question, I can pretty much promise he will get nailed with, “When do you think we will hear from the detailer?” The poor guy just can’t avoid these questions and he rarely has answers to give me. Unfortunately, the lack of information only strengthens the desire for knowledge, so when I can’t fulfill that desire with concrete factual facts, I give in to daydreams and online searches. I am now an expert with Trulia, MilitaryByOwner.com, Rent.com, and Craigslist. Three + bedroom, two + bath, finished basement, Walk-in closet!! Compare those listings with Greatschools.org… Google Map them with the nearest Crossfit and Target (what more does this girl need, really?) and I have single-handedly spent an entire evening finding our dream house in three different towns we probably won’t live in!!!
I cannot tell you how thrilled I would be to be able to tell the kids where they will be starting the next school year. My daughter knew from the very first day we moved here, that she would go to Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade here… then in 2nd Grade she would get to go to a whole new school in a whole new state. She has handled the expectation of the move very well, but I would love to be able to show her a picture of her new school building. I would love to show her the school’s web page and pictures of students who already go to that school. We could look up the names of teachers, and we could look at their school calendar. We could begin to imagine what life for her (and her two brothers too!) will be like. And the idea of that is thrilling.
I would be so excited to be able to start looking for a house for our family to call home. As a stay-at-home mom, our house is not only our home, it is my office, my place of business, my break room…. My world. Moving to a new home stirs up tons of energy for me… good energy about new curtains and throw pillows and rugs and lamps and bedding and towels and everything else available at HomeGoods…. And bad energy about all the stuff we should really get rid of, the kids’ clothes that haven’t been sorted in ages, the heavy bin of books my husband insists on keeping forever, the nest of dust bunnies hiding behind the television console that will soon be allowed to escape when the movers arrive. Most of my energy goes towards imagining how I can best organize our house and home and workplace to be a place where we can all feel comfortable and “at home”… even though it’s a brand new home for all of us. I would start planning and imagining my future home tomorrow if I could.
I am anxious to know which town and neighborhood we will be part of. Community is one of my favorite things in life and I am aching to know what our future community will be like. We have lived in military housing where everyone knows just about everything about each other and we have lived in apartments where I basically didn’t know anyone at all. I wonder what our next community will be like! Will we have places to explore? Will there be fun day trips to add to our adventure? How will our family fit into this new and unknown community awaiting us?
And so I wait with lots of questions and not too many answers… and while I ache for the knowing, I have to admit that on the flip side, there is an equally strong and all-consuming desire to NOT know, no matter what the orders say, to desperately deny, that we will be moving somewhere else. For the first time in our Navy career, my desire to stay blissfully ignorant is incredibly strong… almost (maybe more?) stronger than my desire to know.
I love it here.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE it here. The weather is completely and totally amazing. Seriously, sunny and 70s nearly every day – upper 50s is “super cold” and upper 80s is “super hot”. We live in a climate that makes you want to get outside and enjoy life. The idea of living in a place that actually has weather <gasp> totally makes me feel deflated. I do not own a jacket or a coat right now, I don’t need one! Imagine living someplace where I might need rain boots or snow boots or… pretty much anything other than flip flops! Bleh.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my kids’ schools and their teachers and the learning environment they are in on a daily basis. We have found schools that employ teachers who genuinely love kids and love teaching them; schools that encourage our children to want to learn and be creative and solve problems; schools that help me be a better parent as they help my kids be better kids. When I imagine the last day of school and saying good-bye to the Kindergarten teacher who taught my daughter and son to read, my heart breaks and I am filled with a longing to take her, and all the other teachers who have helped shape my children, along with me.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE our home and our neighborhood and our town. The playgrounds actually get played with and the neighborhood garden blooms with flowers, vegetables, and herbs. There are parades and community events and activities and just about every day there are people out riding bikes, jogging or just out for a walk. Even on my drive to Target or Crossfit, the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. I consciously try to be appreciative of the beauty around me.. there are mountains and oceans and sunny skies all over this place!
Living in a place that makes me feel my very best is one of the luckiest things that has ever happened to me. I am grateful for the Navy bringing us to this part of the country (twice!). More than anything though, I am grateful to be living in a place where I have some of my very most treasured friends. The people I have met here, and the people whom I already knew but got to know even better, have made this tour one for the record books. The friendships that were strengthened through my husband’s deployment days will always be a part of who I am. The friendships that grew deeper and closer through various detachments, or wildfires, or family emergencies have made me a better person. I have girlfriends that have become sisters, and entire families who have become a part of our extended family. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the people I have spent the last three years with. I know that these friendships will continue no matter where or when we leave, but there is something ever-so-special being neighbors with the people you love the most. While I have said “see you later” to many Navy friends that I have made here already as they PCS’d across the country, I am deeply (to the core) saddened when I think about saying goodbye to my friends who are still here.
And so I wait. I wait for my husband to come home from work with the look in his eye that he knows something I don’t know and that “something” is our next big Navy adventure. I wait for the news with the thrill of the idea of that big adventure, and the sadness of ending the one we are on today. I look forward to settling into our new home while my heart dreads the day we close the door to this one.