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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Military Life

Sometimes I think one of the best, and worst, parts about being military is moving around.

Moving is usually one of the reasons listed by people who join the armed forces as a reason for joining. To "see the world" - live in places you wouldn't otherwise have a chance to live, meet people you wouldn't otherwise have met. And I agree with that. It is a great "benefit" to being in the military. I had a chance to go to high school in Germany. I have friends who are located all around the world. Friends I wouldn't have met if I grew up in one location.

But on the other hand, it's also one of the harder things too. Not just the whole aspect of moving, packing up your household, living out of boxes, or temporary lodging, or having belongings ruined, broken, stolen, or lost (although there is all of that too). There is the emotional aspect of it. Leaving behind great friends, changing schools, leaving a great location, starting over. It's overwhelming. Not having a place you really call home, or a place that you can say you are from, not being able to put down roots, or grow up in the same community where you form lifelong bonds.

Joe has been stationed here for nine years - that is pretty long in military years! I was living in CO when he moved here after being in Korea for a year. When I first visited him here I cried. I didn't like it all, it didn't compare to CO (it was brown and dusty, there was no grass...I was negative about it). I cried because I knew this was where I would be living after we got married. Every few months I would get online and check out the EQUAL (Enlisted Quarterly Assignment List) and Overseas Assignments for possible bases to suggest to Joe to put in for. For one reason or another nothing really came up and we just never moved, but oh how I liked to say I couldn't wait to get out of here!

So while I still wouldn't call this my favorite place I've ever lived, I have grown used to it. I've grown comfortable in my surroundings - knowing what's where and having a routine and knowing what to expect. Both of my children were born here, and that doesn't happen often in the military - especially when they're almost 5 yrs apart! But this isn't where we want to retire; we always intended to move at some point. The core group of families we used to hang out with have all moved. Some have even moved to a 2nd assignment in the time that we're still here. They moved on to England, Germany, CA, ND, SC, UT and all places in between. 4 couples have divorced. Things change and it's time for us to move on.

Now that our time is winding down I find myself emotional and sad talking about "my last meeting at MOPS" "my last Bunco" "Kayla's last day of school." This is my first move as a mother and I feel guilty about Kayla having to change schools, but it's the military way of life.

There is so much that needs to be done still in the short amount of time we have left. I have to sort, clean, and organize this house into numerous piles. Stuff to throw away, give away, and sell away. Stuff that we won't need immediately but will be packed and sent to MD, stuff that we need to keep back that will be going with us in the van (important papers, clothes, photo albums that I don't want to risk being shipped), and the last pile - all the things to be stored for a year. But where do I have the room to even make these piles let alone keep little hands away from them?

This is probably the busiest time of the year, and, like everyone else, I have so much to do.

Christmas gifts for family that need to be wrapped, boxed and shipped. Christmas gifts we're taking with us that need to be wrapped, Christmas cards to be stuffed, addressed, sealed, stamped and sent.

Endless activities I can't say "no" to because it'll be "our last time" - 2 birthday parties this weekend, Children's International Festival, Soaring Heights meet Santa, squadron Christmas party, cookie exchange, Daisy meeting, a Discovery Toys table at MOPS and again this weekend on base, Bunco, and on and on. Not to mention all of the other day-to-day stuff in running a household. Paying bills/balancing the checkbook, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bathing, nursing, feeding, playing...there aren't enough hours in the day.

So if I'm not commenting much on your blogs over the next couple of weeks you'll know why...please bear with me until we get settled in MD! :)

To make it even more fun we don't even know when the movers are coming yet. And we'll need 2 separate movers - one for the storage and one for the stuff being shipped.

Ok, let the stress (I mean the fun) begin!

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45 comments:

nichole said...

Oh Michelle - so much to do. My office just moved and I moved to a new apartment. It was a lot of upheaval for me and I am just one person. I couldn't imagine having to move multiple people at once! It sounds like you have a good handle on things and I hope the whole moving experience goes smoothly for you all.

Mom24 said...

{{{hugs}}} You certainly have a lot on your plate! Know I'm thinking of you and wishing you well. I hope all goes smoothly.

Amy said...

Stay strong! You know it will all work out in the end - it always does. :-)

I have to agree on the whole moving thing though - it's always stressful not knowing when your stuff will arrive at your new location let alone be picked up!

mommaof4wife2r said...

oh michelle...you poor thing. i have to say it. i hate moving, so i'm feeling you sister. it must be so hard, but i can tell you are the "get to know em" kinda girl...and new friends and clubs and coffee dates are just around the corner. as for sweetie pie kayla, she'll be great...a new adventure will be great for her. she'll always be able to talk about her "old school" now. and, she'll eventually have to go to middle school and high school, so now you're prepared for building and teacher changes...ok, maybe not. sorry...i'm praying for you guys! oh, and i got my CD!!! woot woot.

Beth said...

Thinking of you guys!!!!!

Jill said...

Oh how I sympathize and empathize! Wishing you all the best during your upcoming move. Take a deep breath... you'll need it!

Robin said...

Oh my - that does sound overwhelming. And the fact that it's Christmas too - wow - you have my prayers!
I have always moved a lot too - at least for the first 30 years of my life. Now we have lived in the same place for 20 years.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Ah girl, if we were all there, we'd take a box and pitch in. In the meantime, don't forget to breathe. Enjoy the things that you are going to. Don't just attend them. Make yourself daily goals. Make them realistic. And again, breathe.

Tina said...

Sending you a hug!

PEA said...

Dear Michelle, don't you worry about us, we'll still be here when you're settled and have more time for blogging:-) I can well imagine how hard it is to have to leave all your friends behind and start all over in a new place...but we always do what must be done and we manage, don't we! Know that I'm thinking of you. xoxo

Me said...

Oh my gosh you have a lot to do!! I hope it all goes smoothly for you all! :)

Stephanie said...

I am with ya, and yet I don't even know how you keep up with yourself. I wish you the best during your move and I hope that things happen smooth for you.

Melissa said...

WOW, what a HUGE project ahead of you! I'll keep you guys in my thoughts & hope that all goes well. If only there could be a "moving fairy";)
GOOD LUCK!

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

Michelle,
Thank you so much for your very sweet comments, prayers & thoughts on our blog for Whitney and her open heart surgery. It is so wonderful to have people all over the country looking out for her! I will be thinking of you right now and wishing you a very uneventful move (uneventful means everything will go exactly as you plan and hopefully will be as easy as possible for you!)
Good luck with your move to MD! Good luck too making it through all of your preparations for moving in addition to "lasts" in NM!!!Thinking of you... Laura (Whitney's mom)

much more than a mom said...

Aw, Michelle. I can sense your stress. I'm sure it will all go flawlessly - and if it doesn't you'll have lots to blog about! ;-)

Nicki said...

Here's something to cheer you up... NO matter where you move to, you'll always have a consistent "home" on the blogosphere!
I'm so corny, sorry!

Jessie said...

good grief...I am tired from just reading your to-do list! say no when you can, take it one step at a time and I'll look forward to watching everything unfold in MD

Tracey said...

I canNOT imagine. I have lived in the same general area my entire life, as have my parents, husband, his family, our siblings, etc...

That said, good luck on the move. May the next place bring you fabulous friends and experiences!

Lianna said...

Oh Michelle, I wish I was nearby to help you with everything. My husband's father was in the Canadian Air Force for his whole career and he moved his family often. It's hard work. It really is -- in all ways, and maybe mostly emotionally.

My husband and I have moved five times in the past 20 years -- which may not seem like much -- but it was. But it was harder after Gabriel was born. The blessing was that he was still so young...

I wish you lots of strength over the next little while. Take help when you can, okay?

Chrystal said...

Oh, I understand. Somewhat, I guess. This was only my first move and we're here for almost 3 years (which everyone says is FORVERER).

Enjoy your celebrations and goodbyes. And take care of yourself. I'm not going anywhere.

hjoy said...

Wow Michelle you are going to be super busy. We will be praying that you have strength to get it all done.

Midwest Mommy said...

You have got your hands full! Good luck and I will be thinking about you.

Becca said...

Where in MD are you moving? We're in VA, just outside DC. Not far at all!

Sue said...

Wow! I've often thought moving around had to be both a blessing and a curse for the reasons you stated. I feel for you with all you have to do. I'm overwhelmed with my to do list and I'm not going anywhere.

I hope the next few weeks go as smoothly as possible for you. I know it will also be an emotional time!

Haley-O said...

Good luck with the move! :)

Jennifer said...

Wow..you just put into words exactly how I felt every single time I had to move....either due to Josh's deployment or his returning home. It is extremely stressful and exhausting, but you'll get through it. And, someday down the road when you do get settled into a town of your own, you'll sit and wonder to yourself...."How in the world did I stay sane and keep my family in tact through all of that?" Josh, Faith and I lived with nothing but a blow up mattress and a tv for a month once because the military bumped up his departure date AFTER we had moved all of our things! It's a crazy mess sometimes, but it's always always okay in the end. Let me know if you need anything.

Monica said...

Good Luck with your move!! I am amazed and a little bit jealous of people that can relocate, I just don't have it in me. I wish I was adventurous but, I'm so not! Although my oldest son just joined the military and he did so, mainly to "see the world" so I just might move especially when I become a Grandma!!(okay,hopefully this will be a while, he doesn't even have a girlfriend :) )

Monica said...

Good Luck with your move!! I am amazed and a little bit jealous of people that can relocate, I just don't have it in me. I wish I was adventurous but, I'm so not! Although my oldest son just joined the military and he did so, mainly to "see the world" so I just might move especially when I become a Grandma!!(okay,hopefully this will be a while, he doesn't even have a girlfriend :) )

Jeanette said...

I was a military brat and a military wife. Both of them involved many moves. I was shocked to read that you were in one place for 9 years! WOW, my longest stay was 4 years and that was a miracle. Hang in there. All of those "lasts" will burn memories in your heart. They are sad, but at the same time confirmation that you have touched the lives of others and they have touched you. It is a unique life, a military family. There are some amazing opportunities, and some heartbreaks as well.

Everytime we moved, my mother would prepare us for the next "adventure". We would look at travel guides and each move was a new adventure for us. I don't know how she did it, but we never knew that it was tough on her. Mainly because my father was deployed several times when we moved. He would just meet us at the new house. (nuclear submarine Navy) Just don't forget to breathe! =0)

Tammy said...

I didn't realize you were moving, Michelle...but wow, yes, having to get ready for a move at Christmastime must be so challenging.

I just posted about the stress that some of us as moms can have at this time of year...my girls are in a huge pageant this year that involves ten performances! (And that's on top of all the rehearsals!)

But I guess no matter what's causing us extra Christmas rush, it's good to force ourselves to take deep breaths and look for little moments to savor and enjoy...and try to grab moments of relaxation when we can!

I will be especially thinking of you and praying for a smooth transition!
Hugs!

Ellen said...

No two ways about it, moving is NOT FUN. We ended up in a city that I'm less than thrilled with, and I find myself wishing for something different, but like you, I'm also comfortable. I think it will be hard when we do move (and we will because I don't want to raise my kids here for the long term).

In any case, feeling your pain. When we last moved our oldest was twenty months old, so NOT FUN.

Good luck.

Sandra said...

Oh Michelle, I know the feeling, this is exactly how I felt when we moved here to Arizona last year, after having been in Idaho for 9 years.

It's so hard to leave everything behind, it was even more painful for me because my kids were both born at that base, at the base hospital and I felt like I was leaving EVERYTHING behind. It's tough.

Hang in there, sending you lots of hugs over the net.

Joy said...

Oh goodness, I totally understand! What a busy time of year to be moving. I hope it goes as well as it can.

I was just beginning to feel settled here (we moved this summer) but then my husband had to come home today and say we were already half-way through our time here. Man! Moving for only a year is really hard. But then staying for longer (like 9 years for you guys) does make it so much harder to leave.

Good luck and prayers to you!

therextras said...

Maryland, eh? Texas is closer and not so cold, and, er, similar, sort of. I can't think of a way to prepare you for culture shock - not that MD is bad, just not like NM. LOTS if military bases here. Oh well...I'm a wife of a retired Army officer. Know and understand the move gig. You'll be fine. Better maybe if you didn't keep EVERYTHING absolutely necessary on the list you gave. All the best, Barbara

Jordon said...
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Jordon said...
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Barb said...

I don't think anyone envies you this kind of move right now, Michelle. A simple move, during the holidays, would be difficult. But having to move half into storage and half to MD has to be very trying.

You'll get through it of course, but you'll probably need a long rest afterwards. I'm sure that's going to happen, with two little ones. :-)

chelle said...

The pressure of moving before the holidays is crazy (now that I have done it two years in a row I can testify to that!)

Hang in there. Somehow it all gets done! Having two kids and moving is hard!

Renee said...

Thanks for stopping by. Wow, I've really been out of touch. I didn't realize you were moving. Sorry it's taking me so long to get around to everyone.

Hope your move goes smooth and that y'all have a wonderful holiday season!

Nancy M. said...

You do have a lot to do, in this already busy Christmas season. I can't imagine moving during this time also! Somehow, you'll get it all done. I really feel for you leaving what you've grown to love, but there will be great opportunities for you ahead! Best of luck!

Bethany said...

Hey, where in MD will you be? I'm in VA, right outside DC ... right along with Becca. :)

Shannon @ Gabi's World said...

You take as long as you need! We'll still be here. I envy you and I am glad I am not you all in one! (((HUGS))) I had 1 major move in my life and I know it's tough and I wasn't no where near as involved as you are! Best wishes for a smooth move!

Jennifer said...

as a military wife who just made a move 2 weeks ago, I feel you. Moving, it is hard. Moving at the holiday makes it harder.

You have a beautiful family and your daughter has the prettiest smile.

jennifergg said...

oh, my! i'm sending my hugs (wish I could do more...)

xo

joan said...

Oh Micelle, I'll keep you in my prayers during this stressful time. I agree moving is a total pain but I hope it goes as smoothly as possible for you.