Guest Blog: Moving Day Memories
Wife on the Roller Coaster is a proud military spouse, a mother of two military brats, a kindergarten teacher, and a freelance writer. During her ten year marriage to the military, she has completed countless change of address forms, mastered the art of packing, and battled Murphy’s Law as she conquered her husband’s deployments. She blogs about her adventures as a military spouse at Riding the Roller Coaster.
Moving is never easy. You have to sell your house, find renters, or prepare an on-base house for a white-glove inspection. You have to pack everything you own or prepare to have professional movers wrap/break/lose your most treasured possessions. You have to say good-bye to friends, quit your job, and pull your kids out of school. No, moving is never easy. But sometimes it takes a moving day to remind you to take some time out to reflect and reminisce.
My husband and I have PCS’ed three times. Those three PCS’s included six different houses. And because most of those moves included hotel stays in between the pack-out of one house and the pack-in of the next, as well as the staggered arrivals of overseas shipments, I’ve completely lost track of how many moving days I’ve actually endured. But despite the fact that each move had its own difficulties and complications, there are some aspects of moving day that remain the same regardless of whether we were moving to from the States to Japan or to an on-base house 15 minutes down the road.
Of course I make lists. I assemble piles and label them with Post-It notes. I follow the movers around the house with those lists and Post-It notes. I hide stuff I don’t want the movers to pack in the bath tub. I snap pictures and wonder why I didn’t take more pictures while the house was still a home. I hope and pray that everything being packed into those boxes reaches its destination in one piece. And somewhere amidst the chaos, I take a deep breath and enjoy the memories made and the memories yet to come.
On our very first military moving day, when my husband and I were packing out of our little apartment and embarking on a completely different life as a military family, I sifted through the memories of my wedding day and the early honeymoon phase of my marriage. I felt like the movers were packing up more than simply my dresser from high school and my college textbooks. They were packing up my youth. And I knew I would be opening those boxes on the other end as an adult, as an official military spouse.
Another moving day prompted a trip down memory lane as I watched the movers pack up first my son’s crib and later the boxes and boxes of military gear my husband had accumulated. That house held inside its walls the tears of joy, sadness, and frustration that accompanied both our transition into parenthood and my husband’s first deployment. I tried to store the happy times in memory and leave the not-so-happy ones behind as we drove away that final time without looking back.
Many other moving days came and went after that. One moving day sparked memories of an American family in a Japanese cho house. Another moving day offered reflections of a challenging pregnancy and the gift of a healthy baby girl. The next brought flashes of a beloved dog and his last breath. And our last moving day, a day that involved a very bored 4-year-old, a 9-month-old in a Pack N Play in the middle of an overgrown front yard, a husband who couldn’t take off from work, a wife with no friends, and unfortunate gouges in hardwood floors, reminded me that these were all memories in the making.
There’s something about moving day, something about standing in a completely empty house that I’m either vacating or claiming as my own that triggers my memory. Whether those memories are good or bad, happy or sad, they’re all a piece of me, a piece of my family’s history.
No, moving day is never easy. But those special moving day memories help make that stress a little bit more bearable.
Thank you for the memories! Funny how it suddenly triggered one for me out of the blue. June 7, 1992, I graduated from high school in the middle of my /final/ pcs as a military-brat. We hopped on a plan back to the states June 10, 1992. There were moves after high school. Mom & Dad PCSed two times while I was in college (and once more after I graduated college) but this was the last one that I was a major part of. There I was graduating from high school and our household goods in a crate bound from Keflavik NAS, Iceland to Annandale, Virginia. Not only was I saying good-bye to high school friends, most for a final time (although I did and continue to get together with some of my closest friends) but I was also saying good bye to a house, a lifestyle, closing a chapter in my military-brat life all in the span of a few days. Funny the impact those three little letters, PCS, have on a military family… ah the memories. Thank you!