When people ask, “How do you do it?!” while shaking their heads in wonder, I typically answer something to the effect of “We do what we have to do,” or “Home is where the military sends us, so we make the best of it,” or something along those lines. It’s heartwarming to have lived in many parts of the country and to have friends in nearly every state – even around the world. Overall, it makes for a global mindset having lived in many places.
While all of that is true, what is also true is that I’m really tired. I’m tired of moving. I’m tired of making friends just to have to pick up and leave when it’s getting past the initial getting-to-know-you phase. I’m tired of knowing that when I set up the next house, I will silently sigh and think to myself as I do every move, “Seems silly to hang these pictures only to take them down again in what will feel like the blink of an eye.” Or “Why bother painting when we will have to paint it all back to off-white when we leave?” I want to plant a garden and harvest for more than 2 seasons. I want to be the one to stay.
I’ve had dreams where I’ve been drinking – and enjoying it. Upon waking, I’m relieved and grateful that it was only my subconsious and that my 2.5 years are still very much intact. The handful of times where I drink in dreamland is where there is extra stress….and moving? Yup. No question.
The move here was overshadowed by the homecoming phase of Eric’s return. This time is a little different in that it’s harder on the kids. They don’t remember a lot of Washington so to them it feels like another new place. There’s an edge of unease, despite reassurances. We’ll get there, but for now we are in the transitional uncomfortable.
This time we will be moving back. Back to where we met, back to my home state. My family will be there. I already know the layout of the commissary and where the good off-base groceries are. I know how to navigate the town, and surrounding areas. I envision hiking with the dogs in my favorite locations and cannot wait to show the kiddos all the places they used to roam but were too young to remember specifics. I cannot wait to see our friends and family. Despite the rain of the pacific northwest, or rather because of it, there is incredible beauty in that part of the country. The air will be crisp, and we will arrive just in time for the holidays. After 1-season-year-round California, the change will be welcomed.
As I look around at the curtainless windows, the sea of boxes and familiar red tape gun securing our earthly possessions for another move, it feels like it’s number 359 although it’s actually our 12th in 18 years. “We are almost to the end,” I remind myself, resolutely. This phase of active duty will come to a close in a few more years and the moving will cease to be our normal. We will plant that garden, we’ll buy a home and the kids will finish school in one location. “Just a little further,” my mind tells me, borrowing the oft-used mental methods of running long distances.
Just a little further.