Learning Military Life

We Survived Our First PCS!

Our First PCSNew to the military? Never PCS’d? Do you know what that means?  PCS is a military abbreviation for Permanent Change of Station, meaning you’re assigned to a specific base.  I wasn’t sure I could do it. I had no idea how to do it. And now that it’s over, I’m just surprised it went so smoothly! We survived our first PCS! A year ago, I didn’t even know what that word meant, and now I’ve done it! While it wasn’t anything close to simple, it was made a bit easier because I had good people helping and advising. And now that it’s over, I can finally say we made it through our first military PCS!

Hi everyone! Surprise – I haven’t disappeared. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind adventure since we got here. We had our first case of scarlet fever, our first brown recluse spider bite (that was me), our first experience shopping in the commissary on payday (I’ll never do that again!), and now we’re finally getting the hang of it. When I started dating my (now) husband, he was already in the army, but I had no idea what that meant for me. As dating turned into engagement, and we moved him to his duty station three states away from me, I started processing how his life would completely change mine.

I’d lived in Florida nearly ten years. I’d made many friends, had family there, my children were in school there, I had a church I attended that I loved, and I had a career I was about to begin. But once I agreed to marry my husband, all my current comforts became things I had a limited amount of time with before my current life merged with those I’d vowed to adopt. Slowly, the reality of my impending relocation began to settle in, and the reactions weren’t always easy to cope with. Those very close to me struggled with anger. Abandonment. Fear for me. Fear I wasn’t making the right decision. And sadness. I watched as people I loved began to process in their own ways. Some pulled closer to me, while others placed distance between us. Regardless of how my loved ones dealt with the upcoming move, I couldn’t blame them. After all, we lived in a military town. I’d met and fallen in love with so many friends and families, only to have to tell them goodbye when they received their new orders. I knew what my friends were feeling. And to be honest, I never thought any of them would be going through that with me. But they were.

Packing wasn’t hard. I actually moved around many times before settling on the gulf coast. Sometimes every 3-4 months. I’d moved three times with children. Moving wasn’t hard. Leaving was. My mom lived with me, and I knew she was going to be alone. My best friends lived and worked nearby. My church choir family were some of the dearest people I knew. And I was about to leave them all. My first PCS was less logistics and more emotions. New state. New home. New schools. New church. New grocery stores. New friends. New world completely.

Since the day we got here, we’ve been learning about this new life. Before here, I’d never been through “the gates” before. I remember talking on the phone to my husband the first time I went through. Scared to death – not because I was doing something wrong, but because I didn’t know what to do at all! My first trip to the commissary with both kids was even more frightening! Every woman in that store knew I had never been there before. I was rusty at trying to learn my way around a new town. But slowly and ever so subtly, things became normal. I now love that there are gates that you have to go through to get on this base. It makes me feel very safe. I’ve figured out when the best and calmest times to shop for groceries are. I know how to get to the mall, Starbucks, a Barnes and Noble, Target, and two good restaurants (one Mexican and one Chinese 🙂 ). My son is in love with his school. Both kids love all the playgrounds within walking distance of our house. And, while I know there were doubts/concerns about our blended family, the kids and my wonderful husband have bonded almost seamlessly. They have a love for each other that surpasses even what I had prayed for. We have a routine, nightly devotions, pizza/movie night, evening walks, and even special Saturday trips or activities that keep us from being couch potatoes.

Next time, I’m going to let the military move us. I’ll let you know how that goes when that day comes. Yes, our first PCS can go down as a success. And while I think there are at least two boxes I may never get around to unpacking, this place is our new home. 🙂

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