Because the Military Choses When You Move

Moving is the worst.  No, no wait.  Moving an established family with their various things (including children and their various things) is the worst.  Moving when we were young wasn’t so bad.  When we had very few, mostly small, prized possessions and no kids who needed to do things like attend school and bathe and eat, moving was a snap.  Now?  Nightmare of the highest order.  And also, as a friend of mine so eloquently put it, “heart-stoppingly expensive”.  She was not exaggerating.

Now let’s add a little fun to the mix.  For this cycle, let’s have the Navy move us in December.  Right smack in the middle of the school year.  And the holidays (including a little boy’s birthday).  And, don’t forget, this move is overseas.  Oh what fun, it is to ride, in a 777 for eight hours right before Christmas!


So, let me tell you, U.S. Navy, what this family got out of a December, overseas move.

Ten Christmas cards.  And those were only from the really devoted friends and family who tracked down our new address.  Also, jealousy, as I saw updates on Facebook of mantles and bowls full of cards received by friends who never move.

A (bland) Christmas dinner made without spices but with an already broken, Dollar Store knife, two just purchased pans and a disposable casserole dish.  Served on paper plates.

A huge Christmas tree purchased to take up space in our completely empty living room.

A birthday trip to the movies.  Luckily, the last bit of my pre-move planning skills went to organizing a party before we left Belgium so the big day of an eight year old boy I know wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle.



Holiday movies on a giant, brand new television that I don’t understand.  It sits on the floor because we haven’t seen our furniture in months.  Still no date yet for its arrival.

The loss of the last bit of my mind as I navigated through malls the week before Christmas.  You can’t pre-buy presents when you move in December.  You get a certain amount of baggage you’re allowed to bring with you and if one suitcase was filled with gifts, we would have had to leave out something else.  Like shoes.  Plus, the loss of a little bit of my own holiday happiness as I had no time for handmade gifts, a custom for me.  Still, the kids weren’t complaining.

The need to go out shopping again for… wait for it… school supplies.  What wrong have I done in my life that I have been cursed with having to buy school supplies twice in one year?

And, of course, the only true, actual problem…the middle of the school year move.  It’s bad enough that these kids move every three years, but right in the middle of the year?  Not only are they leaving behind friends and teachers and schools that they know and love, but they spend the first half of the year practicing the recorder for Christmas concerts they won’t play in and starting school projects that they won’t get to finish and planning Cub Scout campouts that they won’t get to attend.  Then, the big one.  The stress of starting at a new school in the middle of the year, once school projects have already begun, sports teams have already formed, choirs have already picked their members and education has already begun without them.  My kids are ten and eight years old.  This is too much stress for them.  Navy?  This has to stop.  Yeah, yeah, they learn to become resilient.  Ok, they learn how to make friends.  But these are things they would learn anyway.  These are not marks in the pro-move column.  In fact, I can’t think of one positive thing to say about a middle of the school year move.  If the Navy is going to continue moving the entire family, they should consider the entire family.

But at least I got an enormous tree out of it.



4 thoughts on “Because the Military Choses When You Move

  1. As someone who’s family only moved once since the oldest started school (long story), I can honestly say that we missed out on experiencing more of the world, moving overseas included. We lived in the south while we were married and when it came time to the last few years of his career, we decided to live on different coasts for several reasons. We bought a house in CA when the rates were low and right after the oldest finished kindergarten. It was very difficult to live apart but our kids have lived in the same house and gone to the same school with the same friends for the past eight years. Now that my husband retired two years ago and we now finally live in the same house, I do regret not having more opportunities to live in different places. I meet military kids who are now adults and speak fondly of their international experiences. Looking forward to reading more about your new home!

    • It’s really only recently that I’ve tired of moving. I feel we’ve come to a point where enough is enough. I’ve now become rather envious of people who’ve been allowed to grow roots! Still, I would never trade our experiences (or eight moves!) and I know that I’ll be pretty picky about the place we do finally land permanently since I know what’s out there! Where do you suppose I can find a neighborhood close to Mediterranean like beaches and Alps-like mountains, with people as friendly as those in Ireland or the Midwest, where the people speak English and the homes are historic but also have air conditioning and garbage disposals? Glad to hear that you and your husband get to live under the same roof!

  2. Love your big tree!!! We don’t have tall ceilings so….itty bitty tree it is. My allergies kill me with a real tree in the house so we have fake. 😔

    You guys have been through a lot lately! Remember…. Hang in there! You guys have eachother and some great memories and starting over can suck, but you guys will have so many more memories in the new place!

  3. We moved from St Lucia home to the UK in December, about four days before Christmas, a few years ago. Add to that we flew into one of the biggest snowstorms the country had had for years and it was certainly an interesting repatriation, so I feel your pain (my daughter also has a December birthday). The oldest started school that January….this latest move we have been a lot more sensible and arrived here in South Africa about a week before they started their new school year. Perfect! We were in control, which certainly helped 😀

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