Well, it’s been about 6 months since we’ve joined this crazy military life. My husband left for officer training school in April, was gone for 9 weeks, and then we moved to Texas for 7(ish) months of Tech School.
So how has it been going? What has it been like to join the Air Force Life with 4 kids?
Here are a few of my random thoughts, in no particular order:
When Aaron was gone for two months, it seemed long at the time, but now that so many months have passed by since then, I realize how short a time it really was. I’ve also realized–when I don’t freak out about things and just take each challenge as it comes (ie. Not borrowing tomorrow’s trouble)–how capable I really am.
I like Texas! I didn’t expect not to like it and I do miss the green and mountains of Virginia, but I like Texas. I am a Midwest girl at heart since I grew up in Kansas, so Texas feels familiar in a way. Now that we are firmly into Fall, I am also enjoying the mild deep-south days so the kids can play outside with only a light jacket (or sometimes just in short sleeves!).
Before we officially joined the Air Force, people told us that the best thing about military life is the community. They were not wrong. We have made so many good friends in such a short time. I am amazed and thankful. I get together with friends from the base or from around town several times a week. We’ve had more invitations for play dates, birthday parties, dinners, etc. in our 5 months of living here than we did in 5 years of living in Virginia (!). I really love it.
I feel like I don’t really have a good handle on what military life is going to be because we are kind of in “fake” military life while Aaron is in school. Some weeks have been great— he goes in really early each morning, but he usually gets off between 3-4. Sometimes he’s had Fridays off and he gets all federal holidays off too, which we’ve never had before. It’s so nice to have him home during the afternoons and evenings.
But there have been some hard weeks too where he’s had to go back to the base to study until 10pm at night.
He also isn’t allowed his cell phone in his school house so we can’t text or call during the day. I really miss that. At his old job, he would check in on me and ask how I was doing or I would share if something tough was going on (like Micah threw up this past week and I couldn’t tell Aaron until after he got home that night). So there’s give and take. We’ll see what it’s like when he’s at his first real assignment.
Adjustment is a weird thing. On one hand, when we first moved this summer, I was doing great. I unpacked and settled into the house quickly; we were discovering San Angelo, making friends, and creating new routines. I felt like I was doing really well. On the other hand, I was so exhausted, had depression flare-ups, and felt weepy and lost at regular intervals. So like I said, weird: doing well, not doing well. It’s complicated.
Overall, the kids (and the dog) have done really well too. Benji has had the hardest time adjusting, which is understandable because of his Autism. But it was the same weird adjustment thing for him too, especially when he started school. He seemed to like school and enjoy his days but he had meltdown after meltdown at school for months. In fact, it’s only been in the past two weeks where I’ve been able to say “I didn’t get any phone calls/emails/have any meetings with the school this week.” The school has not been a perfect fit, sadly. In fact, we’re looking at different options for the spring semester but have not made any firm decisions yet.
It’s beyond exciting to have the opportunity to move overseas (ENGLAND!!!!) but it is crazy stressful to try and get ready to do so. There is so much paperwork, so many appointments, so many heart-wrenching decisions (to take our dog or not take our dog?), and so many unknowns (what it will be like to live in a foreign country…?). After that first ecstatic day when we found out Aaron’s assignment, I have mostly been fighting anxiety and stress and trying to tackle a massive to-do list.
So overall, ups and downs, good and bad, blessings and adjustments. It’s been kind of crazy but overall, good.
I’m enjoying the adventure.