Posts Tagged ‘moving’

Deployments and Being Lonely

Lately I’ve been reading military spouse blogs about how lonely they are without their husbands.  Now don’t get me wrong — I do get lonely without my husband, but it’s not a constant feeling.  And I don’t dwell on it.  I get out and keep myself from being lonely.  Everyone has the right to their feelings, but to say in general statements that all Army Wives are lonely is a big mistake.

To start, let’s look at the word lonely as “Webster” sees it.

Lonely — \ˈlōn-lē\

  1. being without company, cut off from others
  2. not frequented by human beings
  3. sad from being alone
  4. producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation

During a deployment, I am never without company — I have children that are there and I make sure to surround myself with friends that do understand what I am going through.  One of the pluses of living in a military community is having those types of people around.  That covers the human beings part and not being alone.  I, personally, never understand those people who “move home” when there husbands are deployed.  I think that this causes more problems for the one left behind. 
Living in a community that has a military installation makes life easier.  All the resources you need are there.  Support groups, commissary, childcare, clinics, etc.  I don’t feel that enough people take advantage of the opportunities that are given on the military bases.  FRG’s (if run correctly), AFTB, and Family Support Centers can help everyone — and it turn, getting involved can give you an opportunity to give back by volunteering at those some places.  You can pass your knowledge onto other spouses that may be currently going through something that you were able to deal with earlier in your life. 
Besides all the benefits living near a military installation, I don’t move because that is my home.  I don’t want to up-root my family any more than I have too.  We’ve been married for almost 10 years and we’ve lived in 6 different places.  I hate moving on a good day, so why move anymore then I have too! 
Do I miss my husband?  Yes.  It is not easy to have him half way around the world, but I can not stop living because we are apart.  I lived on my own before I was married and I can do so now.  It just means that I need to be my own person. 
There is a time that I do get lonely — is late at night, when I should be asleep, but the bed is cold without him.

It’s so hard to be away from home!

People often ask me if I like being an Army wife.  And overall, I do… but sometimes it can be so hard to be away from home.

I have a close-knit family.  I talk to my sister almost daily.  She lives in Nevada and there is an eight-hour time change between us.  But every morning on her way to work, she calls me.  Sometimes we get 5 minutes or, if I’m lucky and she’s stuck in traffic, I get 30 minutes.  It is the best time of my day.  Even my kids know that when the phone rings at that time of day, it’s my time with my sister.

But if the events that happened 10 years ago were just a bit different, I may not have my sister to talk too.  She was driving to work when a shift worker was on his way home t-boned her vehicle.  He was drunk and unharmed.  My sister, on the other hand, had broken every rib on her left side, a broken pelvic bone and a ruptured spleen.  Once in surgery, they realized that she had bleeding in her chest.  When they went to repair it, the aorta tore away from her heart.  As the doctor told us, “she flat lined for 93 seconds and we stitched like hell”.  Thankfully, she survived.  She has scars physically and we all have mental scars from that day.  This is when the lifestyle that my husband and I choose is hard.

At the time, I was a newlywed getting ready to celebrate my first Christmas with my husband.  We were living in Alaska.  It took me 24 hours to get to the hospital.  After my sister was in good and stable condition, one of the nurses told me that their biggest fear is that we would not get there in time.  I can’t imagine my sister dying, let alone, dying without family with her. 

Why am I sharing this story… well, twice in the last few months, I’ve been here in England and my family (biological and Army) could have used my help.  Help with meals, child care, hugs… but from here all I can do is pray.  Dont’ get me wrong — I pray A LOT.  I’m a Christian and believe in the power of prayer.  But sometimes when all you can do is pray, you feel helpless.

This is when your Army family can be such a wonderful help and why I always urge spouses to get involved in as many aspects of the Army as you can.  Our coffee group has a meals committee that makes meals for families that have a new baby, just moved, emergency sickness, etc.  Also, because we have all become friends, we are there to watch children for each other when there is an emergency.  (Like the 1:00am phone call from my friend in labor!)  Get involved so that you have a support system in place.  I say prayers of thanksgiving for the Army family that I’ve become a part of.  They may not be able to replace my sister, mom or dad, but they make a really great substitute!

Living with the “New Normal”

Another blogger was brought to my attention through a military e-mail that I received.  Her name is Rebekah Sanderlin.  She blogs for the Fayetteville Observer, is married to a soldier that has completed 3 tours in Afghanistan and is a mom of two.  Her commentary “Military Families Learning to Live With ‘New Normal'” hit the NPR airwaves this week and, for me, she hit the nail on the head!

For those of you that don’t know, I am living at my parents’ house in NY, while my husband is already at his next duty station in the United Kingdom.  We are waiting on our visas so that the kids and I can join him.  Well, after dropping off my son at pre-school, my little girl wanted to go get bagels (we are really hoping they have bagels in the UK, but I fear she will be very disappointed!)  At the bagel shop, we ran into my cousin, Billy.  Billy is a dying breed — he is a farmer on eastern Long Island.  Just like his father and both of his grandfathers before him.  Being surprised to see me, he asked what we were doing in town.  I explained to him briefly what was happening and his response was, “Moving around must be so hard on the kids”.   For Billy, the idea of relocating your family multiple times (let alone just once) is foreign.  Billy and I grew up on the same street; amidst the farmland that was our families.  I left for college at 18 and only come back to visit.  Billy moved from his parents’ home to his home with his bride.  For Billy, my life is anything but normal!

After parting ways, I thought about what he said and realized that moving is normal for my children.  They know that we change houses and make new friends all the time.  Then I listened to Mrs. Sanderlin’s NPR commentary and realized what is normal for us, goes much farther then relocation. 

Military families face new issues with the repeated deployments.  And, taking from what Mrs. Sanderlin said, this is our normal.  We are use to our loved ones going on year long deployments and not knowing if/when they will be back.  Our younger children are unsure when daddy/mommy is home if he/she will be at the dinner table that evening or if it will be months before we see each other again.  Personally, the one comment that hit me the hardest was when she said, “we don’t know the long term effects” that our lifestyle will have on our children.  We are the first generation that has had to deal with repeated and lengthy deployments. 

But our children do have the so called “normal” life too.  We have little league, dance lessons, school plays, etc.  It’s just that sometimes, it is only one parent that can be there — that is different then “one parent that could be there” or “one parent that choose to be there”.  As military parents, we try hard to give our children all of those fun things, regardless of the uncertainty that our lives have.

Military Family in a Civilian Town

Most of the time, our family, lives in a military town. And while my husband is in the Army, we have lived on a Naval base and our next duty station will be near an Air Force base. It is not uncommon for my husband’s military job to take him to unit’s that work in a joint military fashion. But this is the first time, since our marriage, that I’ve been living outside of a military community.

One thing that I have noticed is that, even though no one talks against the military itself, the war seems farther away here. In military towns you have the constant reminder that someone’s loved one is deployed. The local news has daily segments on the military “heroes” among us (Personally, my husband hates being called a hero. He says, he’s just doing his job.) and there are signs welcoming home a soldier almost on every block.   Another thing that I’ve observed is that more flags seem to be flown in military communities then those communities that are farther removed from our way of life.  It makes me wonder why the flag is not flown by more of us just to say, “Yes I’m an American and darn proud to be”! 

I also get, what I call, is the “pity look” when I tell someone that my husband is in the Army.  It’s like, “Oh, you poor thing”.  Then I am always asked, “Has he ‘had’ to go to Iraq?”  The look and the question always make me chuckle inside.  I don’t pity myself.  I am very proud of my husband and his chosen career.  And if he did go to Iraq (most soldiers have) it was because it’s his job.  I guess I’m just amazed how differently people view me and my husband in the civilian world. 

There are also the observations of my oldest daughter.  She’s seven and in a new school for the first time since starting elementary school.  I was very excited about her attending this school, because she is attending my elementary school.  The school that I LOVED!!!!  The school that molded me in my early education years.  The school that still has teachers that I had there and where we know the secretaries because the are neighbors.  I expected her to love this school as much as I did, but she doesn’t.  As a matter of fact, I hear almost daily how she wants to go back to her old school.  When I ask why, she’s told me that the school has lots of mean and bullying kids.  That they have no fun in class, it’s all work (she’s in the first grade, there should be some fun).  My daughter is a very social gal and they are not letting her in.  This is frustrating to her and heartbreaking to me!  I think most of this stems from this area not being as transient as military towns.  For some reason, they don’t know how to let a stranger in.  When I went to school there, I remember two ‘new’ kids in the five years I was at that school.  I believe it’s just a learning curve that will not be met with the lack of moving around in the area. 

Overall, we are trying to take all of these changes as learning experiences.  I try to have educated conversations with the folks that I meet that my husband’s job isn’t as bad as they imagine and that I do fine when my husband is gone, just as they would be/are fine when their spouse goes on a business trip.  As for my kids, it’s a good lesson that not everyone is kind and that sometimes, it’s harder to make friends then we thought.  Hopefully this will lead to them being better people and be more accepting of others in whatever situation they meet.

Who Thought Moving Overseas Could be Such a Hassle!!!!

Sorry for my absence — we are still in the middle of our move, as you will see, and I will try to continue to post as I can! — Household 6 Hooah


For those of you traveling overseas, it is rather easy to do.  All you need is a passport and a way to get there.  For us, it is a different story.

Of course, we need our passports.  But what I found out after getting tourist passports is that as a military family that will be living in the UK for an extended amount of time, we need military passports.  Since I am a novice at this overseas moving, I didn’t know there was more then one type of passport.  I will take ownership on part of this and say part of it is my fault.  And that is because I didn’t do more research into exactly what I needed.  On the other hand, part of the blame is on the forces that be (the Army) for not giving us a detailed check list into what we need to move overseas.  Most of my civilian friends and family are saying, “Why don’t they tell you what they need.  Isn’t there a list they could give you?  and So many of you go overseas, it should be easy for the military to get this done.”  And yes, you would think that it would be easy, but one thing that is forgotten is that the military sends families to many different locations overseas.  With each country that we are sent, different rules apply.  One thing that I’ve found out is that since we are moving to the United Kingdom, we need visas.  This is not so for every country.  Rules change for each place that you go.  All that being said, I think that the Army needs to have a detailed check-list for each place they send families.  It would make life a lot easier and less stressful for us in the middle of a move that is already stressful.

Now we are applying for visas.  I had no idea the amount of information that they would ask for.  One thing I didn’t have from my husband was a copy of his passport.  Why would I need his passport information for my visa application?  Well, since he is the working party and I’m just along for the ride, his information needs to be included.  Now when if was finally told that I needed a visa (and that was through a soldier friend that is in England with his family) I wasn’t told that we would need to be finger printed.  Now I talked to many different folks and it wasn’t until I called a lovely lady at a Naval Base in Connecticut, that we would need to be fingerprinted before our applications were sent in.  At the end of the application, it let me know that I would need fingerprinting and so would my seven year old daughter.  So the two of us have our appointments for that later this week.  Luckily, my four year old and my 2 year old don’t need this part done.  Once the fingerprinting is done, we get to send the applications to the UK consulate in NY.  We wait 4-6 weeks and then, with approval, we will be joining my husband in England. 

While all of this is going on, we are staying with my parents.  Now I love my parents dearly, but they are not use to have three kids around and I am not use to living at home any more!  It is just more added stress into our lives.  Stress that is not needed.  We also found out, on our drive to my parents, that I am pregnant with #4!!!  More stress – although a happy kind.  My oldest had to switch schools (which wasn’t planned originally) and is not happy.  More stress — and I think one of the hardest because any parent hates to see their kids unhappy.  And our family is separated again.  My husband just returned from Iraq in October and left for his next duty station in January.  I hate being apart when we don’t have to be.

I know this will all end soon, but in the mean time it’s just hard.  My message to the Army (actually all of the military) — how about putting a list together for each of the countries you allow families to live.  It would save the families a lot of aggravation and stress.  And as you Army folk like to say — when the family is happy the soldier is happy!  Let’s work on making this an easier transition for all of us.  Contact me — I’ll help!

We Are Moving! Again!

One part about Army life that many people say that they can not live with is the constant moving!  While it can be a hassle and an adjustment for all of us, I like to see it as an adventure.  If I don’t like the place I’m living, I just remember that everything in the Army is temporary.  And before long, I will be moving again!

We’ve know for almost a year now that when my husband returned from Iraq that we would be moving again.  This will be my sixth move in eight years!  Normally, most of us move every 3 or so years, but my husband has had school and other things that have made some of our duty stations short term.  Our next move is exciting for all of us because we will be moving overseas!!!!  And with that comes more stress for this move then the rest.

None of us have ever been overseas (with the exception of hubby’s visits to the sandbox).  So the first thing that was needed was passport for all of us.  So far we have three of them.  The other two had issues with the passport pictures and we need to retake them and sent them in again!  Then we can travel all over Europe and visit friends that are at other duty stations in Europe.

The other major issue that I have is what we are taking.  For this move, we will have to separate our stuff into 4 groups.  First there is our hold baggage.  This is the baggage that is taken ahead of us for our arrival.  Extra clothes, a few toys for the kids, and even a few supplies for the kitchen that I would need in the beginning.  Next there is our household goods.  This includes all of the things that are not in the other shipments.  Our furniture, kitchen goods, toys, bicycles, tools, etc.  Then there is our storage shipment.  Since we are moving overseas, not everything needs to go.  We plan on leaving most of our electronic goods in storage.  The voltage system is different and they would need a transformer to work and transformers use more electricity.  A friend of mine told me how she burnt her bangs when she attempted to use her US curling iron in a UK outlet.  We all know how lovely the smell of burnt hair can be!  Finally, there is the group of belongs that we will be physically taking with us.  Our clothes, make-up, toiletries, and other things to occupy my three little ones!  That is a lot of sorting!

Since all of our previous moves have been stateside, we just packed what we needed and let the movers come and pack everything else.  Now, I need to sort and label what is going where while having three little ones at home and get ready for the holidays too!  It will be all sorts of crazy!

On the bright side, my closets and home will be cleared of any clutter and all those extras we won’t be needed will be given to neighbors or donated to good will.  We also look forward to making new friends!  We may be leaving others behind, but in the Army, we always seem to cross paths again and are able to keep in touch with the internet.

So here is to another move, more packing and clearing of closets!  I’m sure moving overseas will give me many more subjects to blog about soon!

Army Brats

Many of my friends, non-military ones, ask how we can move our family around so much.  They also voice concerns about moving our kids from school to school and place to place.  I have many times said that our children make one of the biggest sacrafices for the life the my husband and I have chosen. 

When I met my husband, he was a soldier.  When I married him, I knew what I would be in for.  On the other hand, our children have no voice in our lifestyle.  Granted, no child usually has a voice in whether or not they move, but it’s different in the military.  Relocating and separation are a part of military life and they were born into it.

On the bright side, my children have been able to see all parts of our great country.  They make friends in every location and because of e-mail and webcams, they get to keep in touch with each other.  Now with our next move, we are moving to Europe and this will be a great opportunity for all of them.  My children learn about different cultures within our own country’s borders, as well as other countries.  Not many of use can say the amazing places that we’ve been too when we are 6. 

My mother commented that the first time she flew in an airplane she was in her 30’s and her grandaughter was 6 months old.  Now her grandchildren will all have passport stamps before she does! LOL  Our world is so transient now that anyone can visit most countries freely.  I think this is a great advantage to my children.

I do try to keep a positive spin on everything.  I do it for the kids.  But we do have our tears.  We get sad when others leave and when we leave.  But we try to keep in touch and remind our kids that Daddy is moving for his job. 

I’m currently raising 3 Army Brats, and since we, as a family, have no “place” to call home, we tell our children, “Home is where ever we are together”.