By Charlene Wilde
Senior Vice President & Assistant Secretary, AAFMAA
SpouseLink Guest Blogger

We almost felt like a “normal” family this summer.

Last Saturday, was the first time in a long time that my family didn’t have any particular plans. So we slept in late and spent the day at home, doing our random chores, the kids outside in the sun, mowing, and gardening, etc. And after a few hours of this, the thought dawned on me: it’s summer — shouldn’t we be packing? Not for a vacation… but for a move! My son seemed to have the same thought later in the day and asked “When are we moving?”

I confidently answered “Not this summer!”

As I began reflecting on our journey as a Military Family a huge smile and sigh of relief came over me. My sons’ whole life has been the same pattern of moving, making friends and repeat — never really thinking twice about it.

This summer, we did not have to say good-bye to friends made, but enjoyed making plans of what activities they would engage in. Endless hours at the pool, playing Xbox, riding bikes everywhere, and talking about what “annoying” kids they would see in school this fall.

This summer, I did not feel the stress of making new friends and neighbors not only for myself but my children. No one was the “new” kid on the block but were the same ole boring neighbors as last year. No purging of all household items in preparation for movers but instead the same stuff sat in the closet and bedroom from last year.

This summer we are focused on living and enjoying each other. But sometimes my mind starts to wander into a delusional state where my family would never move again and would stay here forever. These thoughts are quickly banished when I realize that if we never moved again our family would not have half of the memories and experiences that come with a transient lifestyle Military Families are accustomed to.

Our summer vacation memories will not involve packing/unpacking and traveling cross-country, but instead the family trip to the beach and laughing at the funky house we rented because it was the only house we could find that was pet friendly. It involved grilling outside a lot and feasting on crab from the hole in the wall crab shack we discovered on a random summer road trip.

We were the veterans in the area. We answered questions and helped newcomers get accustomed. Perfect strangers were now family that we invited over for dinner, watched their children, and let borrow our air mattress without a second thought.

I have never minded moving and seeing new places, it is just part of the Military lifestyle… but I am sure glad we’re staying put this year. NOT moving is kind of like a staycation for me. I am taking the opportunity to enjoy everyday moments that we some time take for granted. I know we will move eventually, but thinking about the next move is not going to stop us from enjoying where we are now.

Are you making a PCS move soon? Get Charlene’s 5 PCS-planning tips on

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