It was the Wednesday after Thanksgiving break. I had gotten to work early to plan the backdrop for Santa pictures when my phone rang. I looked to see it was Brok and knew something had to be up for him to call. “We got orders to Italy”. That sentence stopped me in my tracks. Brok couldn’t be deployed or PCS for at least another year. After six years and Brok’s new position, I knew this was it. We were never leaving Little Rock. I was oddly ok with that. I had job I loved, amazing friends, and family was close. We were rooted. The only thing I could respond was “This is a joke.” If you know Brok, you know he had a very profound and sarcastic statement to follow my response. Just like that the scramble began.
I was excited, nervous, sad, angry, and shocked all at the same time. Anyone who knows me would know that information probably should have been shared at home and not at the beginning of the work day. My head was spinning with everything that needed to be done. We had 6 months to get everything in order. At times that seemed as though it was an eternity away. Other times made that number seem like a freight train barreling down the tracks.
We had been overseas before but it had been so long. We had no children when we first arrived to Okinawa as newlyweds with everything we owned in two suitcases. This would be a whole new experience. I know you seasoned military spouses are thinking: EVERY PCS is a whole new experience. The day we found out, I began making a list: sell the house, figure out vehicles, down size, find a home near Aviano, where will the kids go to school… Every time a new thought came to my head, my anxiety level grew a little bit. Could we handle this? Would our orders get dropped? What if the house sells quickly?
I wanted this. I had been saying for months that if we were to move it better be overseas because I would not want to uproot our lives just to move to another state. Well here you go dear; your wish is my command. I’m always hit with the comment, “I don’t know how y’all do it.” For the first time in Brok’s ten years I started to feel like we couldn’t. How would we leave all these people we love? How would our kids leave their friends? You see, I am a wanderer. A gyspy. I love the idea of an adventure and yearn to see the world. I signed up for this lifestyle but the kids didn’t. It was going to be harder on them to see the good in this.
Thankfully, the whirlwind of things to do quickly took over the fears. I didn’t have time to think, just do. The house was listed and the next day we were under contract. Christmas was upon us and as soon as it was over, we were packing up and moving on. Moving before a PCS royally stinks. No one has ever said moving is fun. Twice in a few months is even more “fun”. The silver lining is we got to really force ourselves to purge. Its amazing what you will get rid of when you have to decide if it’s worth sticking in the moving box.
Things died down a little for February. You know the whole “hurry up and wait” aspect of the military began to take place. I had a friend say it felt like we had been moving for months. Yes. Yes we have. Imagine the limbo we felt.
But, alas, here it is. The day we felt would never come at some moments and the day we felt quickly approaching at other moments. These are the days of “lasts”. Last camping trips, last get togethers, last days of work.
Arkansas, you have been unexpectedly amazing. Our time here has been filled with great friends and adventures we never could have dreamed of. We are ready for the road ahead. It’s going to be a wild few months but I can’t wait to share all the sights and adventures along the way each of you!