(Photo credits: Photo Pin)
“Where are you two from?”
That is one of my husband and my most favorite and dreaded questions. Between the two of us, we can count ten different locales as ‘home.’
We tell people that we are Yankees by birth, but Southerners at heart. When people ask where we’re from and I detail ten different places, I typically add on, ‘we’re running from the law,’ in a conspiratorial voice. If they then react by looking for the nearest police officer, I shrug and say, ‘military.’ It is at this point people get the ‘ah-ha’ moment and smile. Some relay their own stories, others tell me about their Dad, Aunt, Cousin, Brother, Sister, Mother, Uncle… Many, if only by association, can empathize with what it means to try and carve ‘home’ out of unfamiliar rock.
The first time I planned a PCS move for the two of us, my husband was deployed and I was looking into moving somewhere I’d never been in my life. Fear overtook me and I was delaying the process. Since my husband deployed three weeks after our wedding, all our unopened wedding gifts sat expectantly in my apartment; I had made a deal not to unpack any until he returned. I finally budged when I saw my dog shiftily eyeing the piled up gifts in such a manner that one might assume she was staring at a water hydrant. The last thing I wanted was my treasured, limited edition Kitchen Aid mixer smelling suspiciously of urine. Not that I actually planned on using it right away, but because urine soaked appliances tend to give off the impression that ones home might be chosen to appear on the series finale of ‘Hoarders.”
It was at this point that I decided I needed to get serious about finding a place to live.
With little knowledge of the area other than what I had gleaned by watching a fictionalized drama about a highly specialized team of behavioral profilers that go around catching serial killers, I was both nervous and full of excited anticipation. So, I did what any normal military spouse would do (no?), I played a game of Russian Roulette. Load the gun, spin the barrel, hold my breath, and hope we were lucky enough not to get a bullet in the head in the form of, perhaps, a former meth house that looked pretty good in the photographs on the internet.
Had I had been a smart military spouse and actually consulted, you know, military resources, I may have done better. But I do have a penchant for living on the edge. The thing is, I wasn’t looking for anything so different than any of my peers:
After five long years of travel between the two of us, shuffling our belongings from coast to coast, feeling like nomads in a land of completely stable peers, I just wanted to find a place where could laugh over burned dinners, put our feet up on the sofa, and hunker down after a busy day-hopefully without the sharp staccato of gunfire to interrupt our conversations.
Lucky for me, it worked out in the end. We found a lovely house and an even lovelier community. But, the most important thing to remember in a PCS move didn’t occur to me until the movers had finally unloaded the last box and I sat in my family room wondering if I should have traded the charm for square footage.
It doesn’t matter where the military sends us, as long as we are together. Home isn’t about the street you live on, or the size of the front room, home is where YOUR heart is…and mine, well, he’d throw his camis on the sofa regardless if we lived in a shack, or the Taj Mahal.