By Andrea Scherpich
& Guest Blogger
As of February, the orders were in and the excitement of a new duty station was mounting as we prepared for the biggest move of my husband’s 15-year military career. We put our name on the housing list, asked questions on the Facebook pages and started making reservations for our cross-country trip from the West Coast to the East Coast. This was going to be an adventure! All that excitement lasted until the moment a friend said to me, “but you are going to be so far from the big kids.” It hit me like an ice-cold water balloon. I was going to go from 900 miles to almost 3,000 miles away from my two college-aged kids. Nobody talks about that. The sadness of course, but also the logistics of planning a summer move while your kids are home from college. So, we changed gears and started the process of moving ourselves while making sure they were taken care of.
The first challenge we faced was where they would live all summer. We were moving cross-country and they both have cars and their stuff. Logistically, it did not make sense to travel across the country with us. They both started applying for summer internships and jobs. I was beyond stressed because I couldn’t help them as much as I wanted to, but my husband kept reminding me that we raised smart, independent humans and they would figure it out… and guess what? They did! They both landed great summer positions that included housing and a paycheck. We couldn’t have asked for more. Our son found work at a summer camp, which is perfect for a forestry major, and our girl began interning for a law firm and is loving getting an inside look into her future as a lawyer!
The kids both arrived home from school the first week of May so we had about a month to get all their ducks in a row while we were still on the West Coast. We made a list and set out to get them ready to be more independent then they have ever been. Last year, we managed to visit them three times and they came home three times, so we saw them a ton. This year it will be a lot longer between trips! Some of the things we had to do included updating their TRICARE to their school address (last year they kept their doctor in California) finding a new doctor, eye doctor, and dentist. We took them shopping for summer essentials and stocked them up for anything they needed for a summer on their own. We also made sure to get both of their vehicles tuned up and ready for the huge amount of driving they would be doing! This was all happening while we were preparing ourselves and our youngest for our own move.
The month of May flew by, we talked and played games, and spent as much time as possible together before both kids had to head off to their summer commitments and we had to head off on our trip. It was such a wonderful time with them, and was really fun to get to be friends with them as well as parents. And then it was time for us all to leave each other, and this is really the part you don’t know is coming. They got in their cars and headed out.
When we dropped them off at college a year ago, we knew that we would see them again soon. But this time was different. It is a whole other feeling to have them pull out of the driveway knowing this was the last house where they would ever live with us full time. This is the longest we will go without seeing them, and the farthest we have ever lived from them. Nobody really talks about that part of military life — the part where you pack up your life and leave behind a small piece of your heart. We have become accustomed to saying goodbye to friends and family over the years, of course, but it just hits different when it’s your child.
We will love our new East Coast home and this adventure, and we will explore the world around us with open hearts and minds, but there will always be a little something missing. That my friends is what no one ever told me.
Meet SpouseLink Ambassador Andrea
She served as our representative at Twentynine Palms, CA for 5 years and is currently at Camp Pendleton, CA. Connect with her for insights about the areas she’s lived in.