Around the three-year point into that assignment, our friends started getting new duty stations. My spouse and I began mapping out where we would like to go and how our lives would look at each new base. He would hear of new assignments and we would start dreaming.

“Saudi Arabia is available.  What do you think?”

“It’s not my first choice, but it could be fun.”


“They need someone in Hawaii.”

“Duh. You don’t need to ask, just put in for it.”


“How about Alaska?”

“It’s so cold there but I guess I could do two to three years. It would be different.”

You get the picture.

And here come Disappointments Nos. 6 to 25.

Each time he would talk about a change of scenery and it didn’t happen, I was crushed. More disappointments came as our friends would go to new bases and we remained in Oklahoma.

After five and a half years, we moved to Georgia. I was beginning to think that I could surrender to the Air Force gods and go with the flow. But I would be sucked back in whenever my husband would pull out that carrot called the dream sheet and I would get my hopes up once again.

The final straw for me came when a higher-ranking officer told us that my husband was getting a remote so she could assign him to teach at Weapons School in Las Vegas.While I looked forward to Vegas, I dreaded the remote. It was that confirmation that we are pawns in the game of Air Force chess that I finally surrendered.

Afterward, I no longer took stock in the dream sheet or my spouse’s charts that plotted what would happen if we got assignment X or Y. I gave myself permission to ride the wave without stress. My spouse would try to drag me back in but I couldn’t do it. And let me tell you, I was much happier this way. I never say that I “gave up;” I say that I retained my sanity.

So now as a seasoned spouse, I try to pass my knowledge off to others.

We can’t control much but we can abandon the hold that “what if” has on our lives.

For some people, that concession may never come. But for others, the release of that one area of our lives can be so freeing that everything else seems easier. It is a sweet surrender.

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