This can only mean one thing for a military wife. It’s time to PCS. PCS stand for Permanent Change of Station, but for a military wife, it is a verb. It is an action over which we often have no control. Whether we love a place or hate it, there will always come a time to leave it. This time, and this is the only time in 20 years, I decided when it was time to go. This is not a PCS, it is a permanent move, but there will be no change of station for hubs. He is leaving here as a retiree next March. I am leaving now to get settled in our new post-retirement home state, Florida and to begin the teaching career I’ve been aiming towards since I was 6 years old and loved my first grade teacher, Mrs. Loughrin. I know that it is no longer enough for me to exclusively be a stay-at-home mom or volunteer in the schools. I need more for my well-being. It’s also a crucial time for our kids and their schooling. They are all in major transition years with the boys starting 9th and 6th grades, and little miss E. starting Kindergarten, while our oldest, A is a Senior and prepping for college. We felt like it was extremely important to get them into the schools at the beginning of the school instead of doing a mid-year move. A is already back in Georgia in order to graduate from the high school where she attended 9th and 10th grades. Even that transition didn’t go as planned and we had to make other living arrangements for her.
This has been a long, hard year. The last five years have been long and hard. There have been more separations and transitions than years, and it’s time to be done. We are all exhausted and it has taken a mental, physical and emotional toll on all of us. This nearly year-long European experience has given us new perspective and insight into what we truly desire for our family, how we are going to get it and where we want to be to get it. I have put everything I have into making this time in Belgium as positive an experience as I could. We have traveled as much as was financially and time-wise possible, we’ve created some wonderful memories and seen some incredible places. The older kids all excelled in school this year despite all their emotional, and even physical stress, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. They have all matured and learned a lot about other cultures and made friends from all over Europe. They’ve lived overseas during two terrorist attacks and seen what happens when a country is terrorized. They’ve walked down streets with military patrols because the threats of attacks were considered imminent. They’ve lived their lives restricted to the places they could go and the activities in which they could participate due to being American military dependents. And they’ve just been kids; going to school, hanging out with friends and complaining about being bored!
My hiatus from blogging the last two months has much to do with the decisions we were making for the family and the need to focus on the end-state goal. In that time, we celebrated Hubby’s 40th birthday and my 42nd, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and I made it to two destinations on my Europe bucket list: the Keukenhof Gardens near Amsterdam and a day-trip to London with my sweet oldest, A. Both trips were wonderful experiences and ones I am forever grateful for, but neither swayed my decision, in fact, they both happened before we had completely decided. No transition is easy and I expect some ups and downs with this one, but we are finally moving forward to our ultimate goal of being in a place of our choosing, doing our chosen careers and hobbies, and living together as a family. The irony of living apart in order to live together isn’t lost on me, and it’s just another reason that we feel so positive about it being time for retirement from the Army.
Has it been worth it? Yes. Has it been exhausting and stressful? Yes. Has it ultimately culminated in knowing what it is time to do for the benefit of the whole family? Yes. Is living apart from Hubs/Daddy going to be tough for the next 8 months? Yes. Is it the right thing for our family? Yes.
I’m going to keep blogging. There will be plenty of fun, food, and crafts to share, and I will be adding some of my teaching experiences as a new teacher as well!