People who aren’t in the military constantly say, “I don’t know how you do it!” to those of us living through multiple deployments mixed in with training for weeks or months on end. Even though we are currently halfway through a six-month training during which I will not see my husband and our communication is extremely limited, the daily stresses of my life are relatively minimal--you might even consider my life somewhat charmed. We have a routine, and having a routine helps create a bearable normal for all of us. I am also lucky to be surrounded by a great group of women (and one man) who are going through the same thing I am, and their support is pretty phenomenal. That’s how we do it.
On a related note, my parents and MIL and SIL have been doing everything in their power to stop me from going insane, scheduling trips to visit to give me a break. I so appreciate their help because I DEFINITELY need a break from 24/7 single-parenting. (I didn’t realize how much I needed it until the last year, and the process of learning how to accept help from other people has been one of the most liberating experiences in my life.) I am beyond blessed to have them in my life. I needed to say that because the rest of this post is not very positive.
PART 1: THE RANT
A note about the big picture. (And let me just say that I’m probably going to come across as a selfish bitch because by all appearances, my suburban life is nothing short of enviable--a veritable checklist of what every girl grows up wanting--loving husband, healthy children, fully-stocked house, dog...scratch that, I kind of hate my dog right now.)
A few days before Christmas I posted a nice little note about how something good had happened in our Air Force life. After being under an immense amount of mental stress for several months, I felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of hearing me rant about this for the last few months, we are supposed to PCS (I think this means permanent change of station?) sometime this summer. Like summer of 2011. Like a few months from now.
Back in November, I was only slightly freaking out when we found out that Scott would be attending a six-month training from January through June. I mean, I could totally put the house on the market by myself with no help from my husband, while raising our children--also by myself. I could also scout out a new house and get the boys enrolled in school at our next base without any help. I’m Wonder Woman for God’s sake!
|In case you forgot.|
After the initial panic, I gathered my flailing emotions, put on my big girl panties, and started planning. I’d get a storage unit, pack a few boxes at a time, stage the house, and put the house on the market as soon as we found out where and when we were going to PCS. You know, sometime in January (because SURELY we would have a place and/or date by then, right?) to give us plenty of time for the house to sell (FYI, the neighborhood’s average time to sell is seven months...ugh, and people are losing an average of $15,000...awesome).
So, as the other post outlined, we heard from the squadron commander that our situation was on his agenda. That was December 20th.
It is now March 22nd.
We do not know where we are moving.
We do not know when we are moving.
My house is at least on the market.
There is no funny twist to this post.
I am just angry.
Very, very angry.
Very, very bitter.
To be clear, it is not our squadron commander’s fault. I saw him at a potluck a few weeks ago, and the first thing he said was that he was sorry that something hadn’t happened on our PCS front. It’s not really in his hands. It’s in the hands of a different squadron commander--the one in charge of the squadron where my husband is training. And you see--here’s the really fun part. He can’t make a decision until congress (yes, like THE congress) approves something about my husband’s career. And guess what? Congress is on vacation.
One of my friend’s husbands said that we should never have had the expectation to know where we were PCSing and that this is pretty standard operating procedure these days for the program my husband is in. Well,
- I really wish the higher-ups wouldn’t have told us in October that we would know pretty soon.
- I really wish the friends of ours who have already gone through the program wouldn’t have told us that they found out before they even left for the program.
- Standard operating procedure can kiss my ass.
Not knowing where we’re going means I can’t look for houses. I can’t scope out the school situation. I can’t plan for going back to school or looking for a job--which is certainly something I would love to see on the horizon at our next base. I feel, as I often do in this Air Force life, that I am falling through the cracks. Strike that. I live in one giant crack. And there is NOTHING. I. Can. Do. About. It.
Except wake up every morning and take care of my children by myself, hoping for a four minute phone call from my husband possibly telling me that this waiting game will end at some point. And the minute that happens, I will schedule a trip to our next base to find a new house/enroll Will in kindergarten. Because you know--that’s the life stuff that still has to be done, even if the Air Force lacks the courtesy to throw me an effing bone.
PART 2: THE RESOLUTION
So, I just put my mom and the boys on a plane to Oklahoma. I’m following with the dog and our car tomorrow morning. Within a week of getting our house on the market, I had Will enrolled in a preschool and Ben enrolled in a Mother’s Day Out (he puts his backpack on every morning and tells me he wants to “go to cool just like Will”). I am in the process (a very easy one) of getting re-certified as a teacher in OK so I can sub at my mom’s school on the days the boys are in school.
It’s not only enough to make me feel like I’m getting a break from the frustration of my big picture life--it’s enough to get me excited about something for the first time in a long time. I am going to be there when my friend, Sarah, gives birth to her third child. I get to go to two different weddings for some of our childhood friends. I’m going to help my dad organize his non-profit’s 12th anniversary fundraising dinner. I’m going to get to spend actual face time with Derrick, so we can record some music together. I’m going to see all my friends who have been nothing more than Facebook figments for the last few years without feeling the pressure of having to squeeze everyone in during a two-week trip.
It’s going to be a new normal, and temporary as it might be, I am really, really looking forward to it.
The last few days have been full of good-byes for us--lots of friends stopping by to give hugs and cry a little. Even in my excitement about going “home” to OK, I do NOT want to downplay the difficulty of leaving these people I love. Our Charleston friends have been rocks for us the last six years, and if I don’t stop typing right now, I will lose it, so I am not going to say anything else about this right now.
So, hello, Oklahoma! And, good-bye, South Carolina! Things are looking up. I think.