By the time this post publishes, we’ll be in our new home in our new duty station in Bavarian Germany.
I’ve written before that our PCS orders were kicked back 10 times, and that the 10th rejection occurred on the same day that I went into labor with our daughter. I was contracting every 2.5 minutes or so when my husband came home from work to drive me to the hospital. That’s when he told me that our orders had been rejected again.
There’s a phase of labor that midwives refer to as transition. It’s the point in labor just before you can begin pushing, and it’s supposed to be the most intense part. The books I read about natural childbirth (I gave birth epidural-free) warned me that this would be the point during labor when I was most likely to decide I wanted an epidural after all.
If there’s such a thing as a “transition” when you’re waiting for PCS orders, I hit it about 1.5 weeks after our daughter was born. I melted down in a grocery store parking lot, boo-hooing to my mom, the stress coming out of my lungs in heaving sobs.
And then, just when I didn’t think I could take any more unknown…Any more waiting…Any more wondering if we’d be separated as part of this PCS…our orders were finalized and we found out that we’d placed the winning bid on a used car in our MWR’s Hoopty Lot. (Our new assignment meant we could no longer use bike commuting as a substitute for a second vehicle.) Things were falling into place.
The list of things that needed to be done for our PCS was still long. Some of the bigger items included:
- Finding housing in the new duty station
- Arranging shipment of our household goods
- “Clearing Post” in Wiesbaden
- Registering our daughter in DEERS
- Having our daughter command sponsored
- Amending our orders to include her
- Overcoming some hurdles related to the way the Army system handles my allergy treatments
Of course, there were dozens of smaller items, too. Things like sorting out what would travel in our vehicles vs. what would travel with the movers, applying for a social security number for Small Shaw, getting our new APO set up, etc.
As soon as he got permission to be away from work, my husband and I traveled with Small Shaw — who was barely two weeks old — to our new duty station, where we accepted and signed for the second home we saw.
Our new place is larger than where we live now, and the additional space will be welcomed. Small Shaw and I won’t be sharing a home office and nursery anymore, and Rosie the dog will love her new yard.
By the time you read this post, we’ll be unpacked and settling into life in our new home, and my husband will be in his new job. Our daughter will be just 4 weeks old, and she’ll already have lived in two different German cities and slept in three different hotels.
If you’re considering marrying a service member, I hope that posts like this one are helpful. You might cry to your mom every now and then, but nine times out of ten, your spouse needs you to hold back your tears, bite your tongue, and try your best to take challenges in stride.
It won’t be easy.
As a spouse, you will wait for orders. You will be left behind while your service member goes on unaccompanied assignments (i.e. he can’t take you or your kids with him). There will be duty stations you hate. There will be lonely nights and frustration over the way the system works. You’ll learn how to make friends quickly and how to say goodbye to them graciously.
There will probably be more separations and PCSs and lonely nights than there will be romantic reunions or beautiful ball gowns, but you aren’t marrying for the romance; you’re marrying for the partnership…Because there’s no one you’d rather face life’s craziness with than your service member. This PCS hasn’t been awesome, but my husband, Small Shaw and I are together, and there’s no one I’d rather face the craziness with than them.