Okay, this week’s word is one that all military families become very acquainted with. Some hear it and sense adventure and excitement. To others, it brings a feeling of dread and foreboding (a little dramatic, I know, but drama makes things more exciting!).
PCS (Permanent Change of Station)…
This phrase itself is a little misleading, I mean, if it’s a permanent change, why are we doing it again? And again? (and again, you get the point). Since joining the army 9 years ago, my hubby has gotten PCS orders 7 times (with some deployments thrown in), and we have moved as a family 5 times. With each move, we are more organized and better equipped to deal with the change. However, each move also gets more complicated as our family grows and we accumulate more stuff. I am getting better about getting rid of things, but it is definitely still hard for me. As a former teacher, I am still generally a keeper. A “you-never-know-when-you-might-need-that” type of person.
Check out the wall o’ boxes in my garage…
True, a lot of it is Christmas decorations, my husband’s pro gear, and some of my teaching stuff, but I know I should be whittling it down. We just found out that we will soon be on the move again. Number six as a family! I am looking forward to it one minute and then filled with anxiety the next. I started thinking that there are several phases of deployment that we go through as military spouses:
1. Initial reaction: This will largely depend on if you actually wanted to go to the place you are assigned. It can range from, “Seriously! We got that?!?!?!” to, “Seriously!!!! We got that &8$%@#!?!?!?”
2. Reconnaissance: Whether you wanted it or not, you’ve got it. The next step is most likely going on Facebook to get info from others on whether it’s a good duty station or not, checking the housing on-line, or doing frantic google searches about the area.
3. Acceptance: Usually this phase has a sort of serene calm to it. “We have to move, but it’s going to be okay.” The length of this phase depends on how much forward notice you got about your move. We are a little more than two months out, so I’m hoping that for me, it lasts a little while.
4. Refusal: This usually starts when you start doing the actual legwork of the move, like starting to pack or getting your kids lined up for therapy, healthcare, or school in the new place. “This will never work!” or “There is no way we are going to make it!” are common thoughts at this time. This is my least favorite, most stressful part.
5. Resolution: This starts when things begin to fall into place, like when there is no wait list for housing, or that the school your kids will be attending is an awesome one. You begin to see things working out and that there is a light at the end of the PCS tunnel. This phase ends when the movers load up and pull out and you are on the way to your next home.
Now, there is a whole new cycle of actually moving and getting settled in the new place. But, that’s a little too much for me to think about right now…Maybe I’ll tackle that in a few months when we’re in the thick of it 😉
In the meantime, here are some awesome resources to help you the next time you PCS…
Go to http://www.militaryonesource.com and type “PCS” into the search bar