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As plans change, we have choices. We can fight it, dragging our heels and holding on to what we’re leaving. Or we can choose to move forward. I’m choosing forward – even when it hurts.
10 years as a military spouse (plus the almost two years of dating before that) has been full of uncertainty. Whether he’s coming, going and when he’ll be around are always up in the air. We moved across the country once with less than 30 days notice. The lack of control – the inability to leave a place that isn’t working for your or stay in a place you love – is part of the reason that I’m slightly obsessed with my organization and planning tools.
Back in April, I wrote about how that uncertainty had crept back into our lives. Since early Spring, the Army’s plans for us have changed with despairing regularity. At one point, we were told that under no circumstances would we be moving this year. There has been multiple sets of paperwork sending my husband to a variety of units. But it never stuck for more than a few weeks. We would slide back to soft, shifting ground, unable to make any firm plans for the coming months. Finally, In early August, things seemed to settle with us staying here in Central Texas for at least another year or so.
After just enough time to get comfortable and fill out the coming school year in my Day Designer and my husband’s scheduled absences in my Google Calendar, everything changed again. We are headed to Fort Knox this fall, forced into a position I’ve pushed back against for seven years – moving in the middle of the school year.
A little tantruming
I’m not going to lie. I threw some (soft) things that at the wall when my husband called home with news. We’ve already lived in Kentucky. While there was plenty to appreciate about it, I wasn’t planning on going back outside of a visit or horse show. To avoid moving in the middle of winter with all it’s weather, we’d have to make a very quick move. This would mean moving my son from a school were he has flourished in the middle of the year. Normally, we use the 4-6 months before we PCS to financially prepare with a little extra savings, and spreading out some of the necessary vehicle tune ups and other miscellaneous expenses.
Plus, I love Texas.
I wasn’t thrilled to be coming here initially. although I was more than ready to be leaving Missouri. I knew the shopping would be better, the allergies could be bad and it would be incredibly hot.
I didn’t expect to the adore Austin’s weirdness, become addicted to the big skies or fall for the quirky, not-quite-Southern-ness of Texas culture. I’ve made wonderful friends here, both part of the military community and separate from it. I’ve found my village and the support I needed. The sunrises, big skies, lovely people, delicious food of infinite variety, rolling hills, awful traffic and winding back roads have embedded themselves on my heart. As a military spouse, I’ve learned to make my home anywhere. But in Texas, I simply found home. I’m hating even the idea of leaving it.
The reality is that I know things will be okay. There will be bumps. The munchkin and I, especially, will miss Texas (my husband has spent much less time here thanks to the Army and a trip overseas). When the temperatures dip, all too soon after the wonderfully moderate Texas winters, I’ll spend a moment longing sun filled big skies.
But we’ll be okay.
There is plenty in Kentucky to enjoy – especially for an equestrian family. I can share tours of Thoroughbred farms with my husband and son. There is the Kentucky Horse Park with all the incredible horse shows there within an easy drive. I’ll definitely be able to attend Rolex next year. We’ll be within driving distance of family on both sides (a day of driving, but still not a flight).
We’ll be okay. I’m not sure we’ll thrive in quite the same way we have in Texas, but we can make it work.
For the first few days after we got the news, I was so angry at how the miscommunication and constantly changing explanations that I couldn’t even think about what to do next. I have a system for handling our military moves. I’m good at it – organized, thorough, knowledgeable. But for a couple of days, I just couldn’t stomach the thought of starting to make the arrangements for this move. I simply went on with my life, preparing my son for the first day of school and getting our home ready for a visit from my In-Laws. I stayed busy. But in the quiet, in between moments I grieved.
It sounds a little silly. We knew we would be leaving. We asked to leave in the Spring. But I was mentally prepared then. This time, I had settled back in, relieved that we had somehow been allowed to enjoy this perfect-for-us duty station a little bit longer. My calendar was filled out through December. Munchkin signed up for Fall sports. A couple clinics for the pony & I penciled in.
This is why military spouses write in pencil, even when there’s no sign of imminent change.