Its that time of year again. When you or your friend are told its time to move. You along with thousands of others are getting ready to pick up your life, family and HHG (house hold goods) and move to wherever Uncle Sam has told you. Sometimes you are excited and ready for the adventure and other times you are kicking and screaming because you don't want to leave what you have built or the beloved friends you just made.
Our first duty station was in AK (no not Arkansas, Alaska). We were completely ready for the adventure. It was a place we hadn't intended on going but figured three years wasn't that long. While there I was completely submerged in their way of life. It was so different from what I knew. They moved at a slower pace. No one was in a hurry, ever! The best places to shop, or only places, were Walmart and Old Navy. There wasn't many chain restaurants mostly mom and pops. Everyone up there was in to outdoor activities. I grew up in the country and loved going outside but was not ready to do this at -20 F. I was determined to get another teaching job and spent my first year subbing. While we did go to local events, kayaked and saw the sites I completely took it for granted. I wanted the comfort of the things I knew.
Once I found my people things got easier but it wasn't until the third year where I really started to appreciate what AK had to offer. I started cross country skiing, tubing, and taking pictures of the Aurora. We hiked more and took scenic tours of the beautiful land. I wasn't letting the negative temps get in the way of what I was doing. I wish I would have done these things sooner, but change is hard! Which is funny because we are always in a state of change. Nothing last forever.
Then we got our orders for Fort Bragg, NC. We were happy to leave AK and move closer to family, especially because we had our baby boy on the way. Then came the strangers in our house, figuring out what do we pack for the drive, what should we get rid of, and what do we take along. That and the fact that we had to drive for a little over a week with me being almost nine months pregnant. To top it off once I got here, 9 months pregnant, post said they wouldn't see me until my husband had his orders and we were enrolled. I was hysterically crying to the on post advocate because I was terrified I wouldn't meet anyone before the baby popped out. Lucky for me she was amazing and got me seen within that week. It was an adventure for sure, but once we moved here we met amazing friends and started our new life.
Then came PCS number three for our friends. We had been here for five years finishing up schools and jobs. Because of our circumstances, thanks cancer, we asked to be left behind so I could continue treatment with the same doctors. A year without our friends has been a trip to say the least. Many life changes, hello surgeries and COVID, but one thing is still the same, we still talk and pick up where we left off. Even though they are hundreds of miles away when we talk it is like nothing has changed.
My point to this military wife, there are better times and friends ahead. You need only to be open to the change that comes with the move. Don't get me wrong I was kicking and screaming for some of them, because change is HARD! Even though I've only seen two moves, staying put can be hard. You are left behind while it feels like everyone else is moving forward. Just remember too that you can make this the best move or the worst. Making friends is hard, but not impossible. They usually show up in the most unexpected places. Also remember those little ones are watching you. They see how you handle change and will emulate what they see. Changing schools and friends is hard, but if you change their mind set by showing them yours they can adapt quicker. Stay strong and when you move unpack the boxes, all of them, hang up the pictures, and be open to the possibility that this may be your best move yet!