So your time as a military family is drawing to a close. As was suggested in the first part of this series, you’ve bulked up your emergency fund, paid down your unsecured debt as best you could, considered additional sources of income, dusted off and updated your resume, and done what you could to increase your job skills. Excellent work! Now it’s time to consider a few details that are often overlooked in the transition out of military life. I like mnemonics so we’re going to stick with the ‘vowels of transition’ here: A, E, I, O, U…and sometimes Y.
Tag Archive for ETS
Today DH, aka Super Dad, was promoted to Captain Dad! Then we had the Hail and Farewell and the Battalion commander made a nice speech about Captain Dad and then made a nice speech about me and gave me a coin–which is a huge honor. He is very restrained with the awards.
It was at a casual family place and Baby Diva had a lot of fun being passed around and eating guacamole.
I’ll try to post pics this weekend.
It is really hitting me today that we have very little time left here and soon I will be a National Guard spouse instead of an active duty Army wife! There is so much to do!!! So, blogging will no doubt be very light, but I am sure I will have an amusing story or two to relate once we move.
So Captain Dad just walked in from his going away/promotion party out with the men and his soldiers made him a huge framed penant with his platoon, his name, his unit, an Iraqi flag, OIF medal, rank during deployment, a plaque thanking him for leading them all home safely, and they all wrote notes and signed it. It is so incredibly touching. Here are these tough, macho soldiers and they really respect and care about my husband. Captain Dad doesn’t cry, but I just might!
This past week I was at the clinic for my eye exam.
A young soldier (although they all look so young…must be that P.T.) was on line in front of me, trying to clear post.
I was trying not to listen, but the conversation was getting a little loud. The receptionist was looking at him with a combination of frustration, apathy, and a tiny bit of malicious glee that I have only ever seen on a bureaucrat. *
He was trying to retrieve his wife’s records and it went something like this:
R: You need to have form 33RGobbledeeGookDeltaR filled out.
S: That was not in my out processing packet.
R: Well, no…it is for a spouse’s records.
S: So should my wife have received it?
R: No, only soldiers receive out processing packets.
S: So how would we have known about it?
R: About what?
S: The form.
R: What form?
S: The form I need to get records.
R: You do not need a form to get records.
S: So can I get my wife’s records?
R: No, you need 33RGobbledeeGookDeltaR.
S: Can I get the form?
R: No, you don’t need a form.
S: Can my wife get the records?
S: Why not?
R: They are in the system.
S: Where are my records?
R: In the system.
S: The same system that has mine?
S: So why can’t I get hers?
R: They are in the system, so there is a form.
And so on…for about five or so minutes. This was one of those times when I wish I had a pen and pad to record this conversation. It was truly a work of art and my memory does not do it justice.
The poor soul wandered off, without his prize, looking dismayed and confused.
I went to the window and the receptionist seemed determined to continue the fight: “Not my fault…I just work here…there’s a form.”
I just mumbled something noncommittal, “Hmmm…yeah…I have a 1pm appointment; here’s my ID…” Thankfully no form was required.
All I can say is that I just cannot wait until it is our turn to try to clear this post. I will remember to bring pad and pen along.
* If you are a bureaucrat, I am sure you are a caring, compassionate, overworked soul. I do not mean you. Obviously.
Bear with me, I am about to ramble…some navel-gazing philosophizing of the worst sort, I suspect.
If you had asked me fifteen years ago whether I would marry a man who would eventually join the service, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. (Molly fancied herself a bit of an anti-authoritarian rebel back in the day)
My life is completely different from the way I imagined it back in high school, and yet I wouldn’t trade it. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the other one, that person who took a different path, out of the corner of my eye. There’s a glint of sunlight, the smell of damp earth, the heat rising off the pavement and she’s there. Just a flicker and she’s gone…
She’s usually heading wherever the wind blows, or some other cliche straight out of a novel written well before her time, most likely while the author was under the influence of some psychoactive drug that may or may not have yet been illegal at the moment in history.
Times change, however, and here I am.
Never say never.
And never say goodbye. Everything we ever were or ever dreamed of comes along for the ride.
This is a long way of announcing that DH’s REFRAD packet (Release from Active Duty) has been approved.
Don’t drop me from your bookmarks and blogrolls, yet, though–please!
There is still clearing post, final PCS, and readjustment to civilian life fun to be had. And let’s not even talk about the fact that DH can still be called up until he has finished out his IRR commitment and resigned his commission!
Barring any monkey business, though, we will be on our way back to New York this summer.
In some ways, however, I don’t feel like we ever left. Sure, I threw myself into the whole Army Wife with abandon. I read the books, cried the tears, celebrated the joys, blogged the life, bought the t-shirt…
If DH had decided to make this his career, I would have supported him 100%. There are certainly some aspects of being a MilSpouse that I will miss.
In general we are a tight, supportive group.
Both the official policy and the zeitgeist are very pro-family, even if the job requirements aren’t always conducive to stability.
There is always something meaningful that can be done…for the husband, the families, the unit. You know, for God and Country and all that.
I can’t say I would view the prospect of another imminent deployment with great relish…but if I had to do it, I could do it, and I would do it.
Still, somewhere in the back of my mind, I suspected this was all temporary. My “real life” was waiting for me back in New York.
Except, my life has undergone so many transformations, I am not even sure what that means anymore, beyond that it involves DH and Lilah. We aren’t even moving back to one of the counties where DH and I grew up…he’s accepted an offer to be an Assistant District Attorney in a county a little further out from the city. Certainly much closer to family than we’ve been in a long while, but not we were in the neighborhood so we thought we’d drop by close.
I guess where I am going with this, if I am going anywhere at all, is that either it is all my “real life” or none of it is.
I suppose someday there will be the smell of fresh paint, or the thudding approach of a helicopter, or the unfurling of a flag, and I will spot her–drying tears and hugging someone she barely knows, hosting social gatherings and meetings, and trying to hold it together so the younger ones will take strength from her example. And she’ll look proud, and perhaps a little weary, foundation caked from when she hastily re-applied her happy face. Then, a deep cannon-like boom, and she’ll vanish.
Some days I feel like I trail these other me’s behind me, like ghosts.
On other days, I realize that all of my experiences have brought me to this moment. Whatever other paths I may not have chosen, everything I ever have or will done travels along with me on this one…not behind me, or beside me, but in everything I am.