There you are, just minding your own business, perhaps reading a book or unloading the dishwasher, or looking at next semester’s college schedule, when it happens. IT HAPPENS. Your service member walks in the door, meets your eyes, and before they even open their mouth, you know what they’re going to say.
“Honey, I got orders.”
In the span of a few minutes, your brain runs through at least 15 different emotions. Don’t believe me? Look:
Anxiety: Crap, crap, crap! It’s that time again already. Man, that crept up fast this time. Oh, I hope it’s somewhere good. Like, near the beach, or OCONUS. OH, maybe it’s Italy! Please, please, be somewhere good!
Fear: What if it’s a remote tour by himself? I really just don’t feel like prepping myself or the kids for that. All those holidays alone again, and only spotty video chats to celebrate the kids birthdays.
Nostalgia: What if it’s orders back to our last base? I bet I could finagle a way back on to the same block, I know Jessica and her husband still live there, wouldn’t the kids love that! They had the best schools, and the beach was only a 10-minute drive. That would be amazing.
Dread: What if it’s back to our first base? I can’t go back to that one-horse town with two kids in tow this time, we’ll all go crazy out of boredom. Surely not…
Hunger: Man, I’m really going to miss that pizza joint downtown. I wonder if they’ll slip me the recipe for their breadsticks before I go if I promise not to tell a soul? Can’t hurt to ask. Or, maybe I’ll buy like, 10, no, 12 orders and freeze them to take with us.
Panic: NO, we haven’t been to the mountains yet! Or taken the kids to that waterpark with the amazing reviews, or been camping on the lake! I wonder how much time we have left, maybe we can squeeze it all in before we have to leave.
Disappointment: I just started falling in love with this place, and Jake just made the basketball team at school. It’s a shame we couldn’t spend more time here; this is really a diamond in the rough.
Excitement: Maybe we’ll get a better house at the next place! I’d love to see us get two bathrooms this time, or maybe even enough rooms so the kids don’t have to share?! Fingers crossed!
Sadness: HOW WILL I LIVE WITHOUT MY SQUAD?!?! Thank goodness for Facebook, I guess. Those girls have made the time here fly, and we have the picture to prove it! I know Kelly is due to PCS soon, maybe it’ll be to our new base…
Triumph: YES, I made it through this duty station without saying one snarky thing to the grumpy neighbor behind me. Yes, Mrs. Wilson, I’m sorry my kids have to walk in front of your house to get to the school bus, which causes your dog to bark. It was not my idea to place the loading in that location.
Skepticism: Okie-dokey, let’s see if they are going to send us somewhere the EFMP won’t outright reject when we send our paperwork in.
Relief: Fantastic, maybe our next base won’t cause my allergies to jump off the deep end. I’m sick of having a perpetually runny nose!
Annoyance: I have no desire to pack at this moment, nor any foreseeable moment in the future.
Regret: I wish I hadn’t taken so long to come out of my shell here, I haven’t had nearly enough time to enjoy everything. At our next base, I promise myself I won’t do that again. I’ll make it a point to get involved from the beginning.
Paranoia: Is that sadness in his eyes? Or, is he winking? Is it a good thing? Are we moving closer to our hometowns? Or, wait, I think his eyes look wet, was he crying? Is it a remote to Korea?
“Well??! What are you waiting for? Where are we going?”