Military Moments: September edition
We’ve practiced moving so often it should be a perfect process by now. I know the checklists by heart. We have a bookcase full of scrapbooks to remember each house and place. I’ve come up with some pretty creative clean-out-the-refrigerator recipes. Pre-move purging is one of my favorite activities and the movers love me (lemonade and pizza is the secret).
After 11 moves in 14 years, my kids even know the drill. After we and the household goods arrive, the children hunker down with snacks and games and take cover for a couple days while boxes go flying out the front door and home is magically, obsessively and compulsively recreated in the new house.
Luckily we have recently had two duty stations in one area and this house now holds the record for longest Galvez occupancy: 3.5 years. With my husband’s retirement after 30 years of service looming large, we decided to settle here in Hampton Roads. My power of attorney and I bought a house last month and I’m surrounded by boxes and bare windows as I write. But I think we’ve gotten so comfortable with the sameness of our address after so long that we have also forgotten how to move.
I thought everyone would be happy and this transition would be a snap. It will be different living off base: paying utilities, no longer living behind a gate guarded by guys with guns, having to drive instead of walk to the grocery store and getting to know civilian neighbors will be a bit of a culture shock. But we aren’t even leaving the zip code - so schools, church, dance, taekwondo and work will still be just minutes away and no one will be the new kid anywhere but on our new block.
There were still plenty of tears and lots of sulking though and I finally realized I’d been taking for granted that moving is actually one of the top three of life’s biggest stressors (death and divorce being the other two) even if it is just down the street. Change is tough no matter how many times we’ve experienced it.
So I’ve taken advantage of all the family relocation guides and downloaded HealthNet’s military kids moving journal on www.militaryonesource.com. We chatted with our Military Family Life Consultant and the kids have hung out at the Military Youth on the Move website at http://apps.mhf.dod.mil/pls/psgprod/f?p=MYOM:HOME2:0 perusing articles and resource links.
Getting the whole family involved in the planning and decisions – the kids all have their own Lowe’s wish lists and paint chips now - has dried the tears too. This will be our last military move and while it won’t be perfect, at least we’re finally done practicing!
Michelle Galvez is a Navy wife, mother of three, government contractor and graduate student who writes in her spare time. Email her at email@example.com.