For most, this time of the year holds the excitement of the school year ending, the promise of fun summer adventures ahead filled with long days at the pool, weekend barbecues emitting the scent of grilled hotdogs, kids playing outside until the waning sun forces them in to fall asleep with sun-kissed faces.

For military families, this time of year is PCS season. It’s that time when so many families watch as all of their earthly belongings are packed up in boxes and crates by expedient (and hopefully careful!) movers, taken away with the hopes of a reunion a few weeks or months down the road. It’s when those same families cancel their utilities, pack up suitcases that will carry them through the next few weeks of temporary homelessness, scour the internet for information about their new neighborhoods, make charts comparing schools, places of worship and commute times. Countless “See Ya Later” parties are held (because in the military, it’s never goodbye, it’s always see you later), squeezing in one last lady’s night out with your current sisterhood, a final backyard twilight movie for the kids.

It’s a tough time of year when you laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh, wishing that this group of friends with whom you’ve been thrown together by the fate of the military would never grow apart, but knowing that your next duty station holds a new, separate but equal sisterhood that will somehow never compare and yet will also overshadow all previous experiences simultaneously.

You give one last hug to the friend who held your hand during childbirth while your husband was deployed, or the friend whose children you watched while she was down and out with the stomach flu and couldn’t  muster the energy to solo parent, or the friend who loved your children like they were her own, with whom you commiserated about the craziness of parenthood and this insane military life we lead over bottomless cups of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day, of course).

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