Both of our children were born during a tour that was supposed to last four years, and we were only a mere three hours from our hometowns. That tour was cut short by a year when my husband was promoted, and a dream of ours became a reality. We were transferred to Detroit – where we affectionately call home. It seemed as though the stars were aligned and prayers were being answered. We were going to have a very comfortable and happy four years with our family and friends.
My husband was beginning to get the hang of his job; my children were thriving; and I finally found something I could call my own and use my journalism degree as a contributor for Detroit Moms Blog. I had breaks from the kids when I needed them, stress was at an all-time low, and life seemed almost too good to be true. During that time we were home, I came to appreciate my city, my home, my roots and had a renewed sense of loyalty to Michigan. I was “smitten with the mitten.”
And then it happened. We’d been short-toured … again.
We got short-toured when there were only four possible places we could move left on the list. As we always have, we picked the closest to home as our first choice and then on down the list. We even went so far as to start looking for school districts and homes in this place. It wouldn’t be too far away, and it was a day trip away from Detroit. For the last two tours we got our number one pick – why would this be any different?
Coast Guard said: Challenge accepted. We received word shortly after submitting picks that we were moving from Detroit to California. The farthest move we’ve made as a family of four.
I’ve never really been good with change.
OK, change scares the living daylights out of me. I deal with anxiety and depression on a daily basis. This change sent my anxiety into overdrive.
If you’ve ever had experience with anxiety, you know that when you lose control of a situation it wreaks havoc on your brain. It’s nearly debilitating. What am I going to do all by myself in California with two children? The hours my husband would be working would have me doing the daily routine all by myself with no chance of a break. The monotony of stay-at-home motherhood would not get broken up by the occasional grandparent babysitting overnight or a night out with the girls, as with my anxiety I find it difficult to find new friends. Lord only knows when the next time I would get a night out with my husband so we can reconnect.
Inside I was screaming because all of this was going to happen whether I liked it or not. To me, life as I knew it felt over.
Why now? Oh wait. The answer is the military.
I said from the very beginning that I wasn’t sure I was cut out for military life. I know a lot of you must be thinking, “this is what you signed up for” or “at least your husband gets to come home every night and isn’t deployed,” and you are absolutely right.
I am very grateful that my husband doesn’t work the duty section anymore, and that he’s usually home in time for dinner each night. However, that doesn’t make me miss home any less. Yes, as long as my husband and my children are with me, I have all I’ll ever need or want, but that doesn’t make me any less homesick.
It’s a very hard feeling to explain to people. Although I am fulfilled, part of me is missing. All of our household goods are here and unpacked. We’ve hung pictures on the walls and started to make some memories here. Then why does this place feel so completely and utterly NOT like my home?
We’ve been here for three months now and time is passing so slowly. Every day is longer than the one before. I have been making every effort to adjust to the new normal, but nothing has worked. I’ve sat in the sun for half an hour each morning, I’ve gone on hikes, I’ve made sure to get up and get dressed each day and the adjusting is just not happening.
This place feels so temporary, and the complete opposite of my home and despite many attempts to “deal with it,” I struggle day in and day out. So far, the stress has caused a 16 pound weight loss. I attend therapy on the regular and continue to keep on keepin’ on hoping one day it’ll be OK.
I’m broken. This move broke me.
I’ve dealt with severe postpartum depression and some pretty significant lows in my life, and I can honestly say those things were a walk in the park compared to my struggle here.
In this darkness, I’ve found I’m still determined to find a purpose in all of this. I’m determined to find the reason why we were moved here. I’m one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason, and I know the reason we are here has got to be more than “that’s where your husband got stationed.”
So, here is my question to my fellow military spouses: Have you experienced a similar move?
What did you do? How did you find a purpose?