Y’all. We’re a week into our trek across the United States as we make our way out to our new duty station in Alaska. A week. In the past six full days, we’ve traveled over 2,000 miles. We’ve been from the Northeast corner of the USA, made our way out through middle America, and we’re firmly planted in the Southwest as I write this. PCSing is always kind of a mixed bag. You have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You see it all. You simultaneously do it all and do, well, nothing…all at the same time. This is that mid-PCS reality for families. There’s always those individual scenarios for families, but it’s also just this shared experience like no other.
That Mid-PCS Reality for Families in the Military
Remember when we arrived in South Korea in 2021 and immediately entered a two-week quarantine in the barracks? I threatened divorce on day three…and I meant it in that moment. I really did. And Ryan, bless his heart, knew that and didn’t push me further. Surely it wouldn’t happen this time though, right? I mean, no quarantine this time. Yet, sure enough, day three, we lit off on each other.
He’d slept poorly, stressed about the neighborhood in which we’d booked our hotel. I was exhausted trying to manage the minutiae whilst Ryan was managing the big picture. We were each shouldering our individual burdens whilst trying to simultaneously coordinate this wild ride with three kids and two cats, and it boiled over into a big ol’ fight. Want to know we fought about? The cats. We fought about the cats that’ve never before been a question. Both enraged, we set off on the road alone to our destination, content to ignore each other for a few hours.
What We Do is Not Normal
If we’re good at one thing in our marriage, it’s our ability to apologize to one another and admit our wrongdoing. Sure, sometimes I do it rather begrudgingly (sorry, Ryan), but we do it, and we move on. It can be hard to look at the big picture while on the road or in between stations though. There is so much going on, and everything feels like it’s going a mile a minute, regardless of whether you’re driving, flying, or just turning the page on a new chapter in your military journey.
A friend of ours got out a few years ago, and something his wife said to me stuck with me to this day. She said “when you get out, you’ll suddenly realize that none of it is normal. What we do is not normal.” To most, moving means picking the perfect forever home. It’s researching schools, deciding on the perfect neighborhood, and finding that ideal match, if you will. We choose next to nothing. We roll with the punches. We fight to recoup costs that we accrue along the way, and then we do it all over again, and again, and again.
On the Road Again
If I sound like I’m bemoaning it all, I’m really not. It’s not resignation either. It’s kind of this weird sort of “tally-ho” mentality. It never seems like it’ll work out while we’re doing it, but it always does. One way or another, it gets done. And, in this case, we get to see the world’s biggest rocking chair in Casey, Indiana, and we swim in every IHG pool we encounter. We eat at amazing BBQ joins in dry counties in Texas, and we enjoy the beauty of Kansas (more on that later). We get it done, and we do it the best we can.
So, we hit the road again tomorrow – in totally the wrong direction, mind you – more on that later though. Cheers to kicking off week two.