Some times it is tricky to know when it is the right time to share personal things with other people. Whether you are expecting a new baby, or have finally picked up that great promotion, or have just discovered that you have a winning MegaMillions ticket, there is a period of time when you know and you haven't yet shared the information with anyone else. Or maybe you've told just your spouse, or maybe your spouse and kids but not your parents. Same thing goes for PCS. (Unless you are Sarah, of course.)
Our family might be coming up on our eighth PCS this summer, and I've discovered that our sharing point has changed as our family has changed. When it was just the two of us, we might mention bits and pieces to friends and family, but it was usually relatively casual and low key. "Yeah, we're moving. Maybe Florida, or California, or wherever. We'll let you know when we know."
Then the children came, and the grandparents became much more interested in our location. It probably didn't help that we had our first child in Hawaii, and our second and third in Australia. It was like we were trying to keep them from the babies. It was a balancing act because we didn't want anyone to get too excited about the possibilities of us living really close. We are blessed to have parents who understand that this is the military, and nothing is every guaranteed, and that sometimes we just don't know. However, they also love their grandchildren and would be delighted if we were able to live within a few hours drive. And unfortunately, some parts of the family live in a high-military area, and just by default we're more likely to live near them.
Then the kids got old enough to understand what it meant to move, and we had to start talking in code. Or French. Or hand gestures. And it worked. We'd wait until we were 90 percent sure we were moving somewhere, and then we'd let the kids know that we were 50% sure that we would be going there. Everyone's expectations were properly managed, and no one became completely unglued.
Well, we've been thinking that we might PCS this summer, and this time has been hard. It has been months since this possibility came around, and we don't know anything for sure. However, the whole code/French/hand gesture thing isn't working on the smart code-breaking/French-deciphering/hand gesture-recognizing big kids. Also, word was hitting the street via the workplace and we were afraid that they might hear it from a friend who had heard it from their parents.
We had to tell them that we aren't sure, but we think that we are probably going to move this summer. And no, we don't know where. I was worried that telling them something so vague would be upsetting, but it went well. Either it isn't as important as I thought, or they have accepted the Semper Gumby way of the military.
I'm curious: when do you tell your kids that you are going to move? How old are they? Has your strategy changed as they've grown up?