Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Waiting Game

When we moved to our current location, Dan was just coming back from his most recent deployment.  We were looking for an assignment that would be family-friendly (or as family-friendly as you can get in the military...), so that Dan could reconnect with the kids and not have crazy hours like he did at our last assignment before the deployment.  His current job has delivered just that--a slower pace, work that Dan loves, no possibility of deployment, and a flexible schedule that allows him to come home at a decent time.  I've gotten so spoiled, because Dan will help me out by taking Abby to the bus a morning or two every week, and he gets her from the bus in the afternoon most days so that we can have some family time and eat dinner at a decent hour together.  With these evening exercise classes, I have really been able to count on Dan being home so that I could have that time for myself to get in shape.  We also have our extended families close enough to spend good quality time with them right now, and we've tried to make the most of this assignment.  We moved here almost 2 years ago for a 2-year assignment, knowing that if Dan got picked up for his promotion (which he did), we would be moving this summer.  I've had bittersweet feelings about the move--bitter because I really hate the process of moving (I have yet to meet anyone who loves it), and because this next move is only for a 1-year assignment...ugh.  Moving twice in 2 years is not at all my idea of fun.  We'll be moving farther from our extended family--not far enough to deter visits (hopefully!), but more time in the car for the trips.  The sweet part is that the 1-year assignment is in my favorite place in the whole world--Charlottesville, VA.  It's where I went to college, where I lived for a few years after college, and where I would have stayed for the rest of my life if I hadn't married into the military.  Even one year there is better than 3 years anywhere else, in my opinion!  I've been really looking forward to our year there--thinking about where we would live, reconnecting with good friends there, and exposing our children to the most beautiful place (and their future alma mater!).  Dan will be in school during our year there, so the hours will be very family friendly again, and I know we will create awesome memories.  It'll be like law school lite--pseudo-civilian life in a college town...and this time, it just happens to be my most favorite college town!

so true...all the stress of a military move falls on the spouse!

That's been the plan for the past two years--assuming Dan is on the promotion list, we move to Charlottesville in the summer of 2013 (i.e., three months from right now!).  Dan and I began the argument over where to live in Charlottesville probably a year ago--there is no military housing there, since there's no military installation in the area, so we'll be living on the economy.  My obvious preference is to live near downtown and the University, because when I think about living there, I envision taking the kids for walks on the Lawn and being close to everything (including my favorite bagel place, Bodo's Bagels).  Dan wants to live about 30 minutes outside of town, in a subdivision that has a Starbucks, pools, and lots of other military families going through the same schooling with Dan.  I see the appeal of his preference, but I just haven't been able to adjust my vision so far away from where my heart wants to the heart of things!

While waiting anxiously for the promotion list to come out and set our move plans in motion, Dan came home from work one day late last year and totally threw me for a loop.  He had received an email at work that day--a random announcement of job postings that gets blasted out to everyone in the service, and I guess he was having a slow day, because he read through all the postings.  One caught his eye--a position with a lot of prestige for which he felt he could possibly be qualified and which piqued his interest, and it would keep us in our current location for one more year.  For the record, I'm totally used to Dan setting his sights on goals out in left field--and normally, I can bring him back down to earth with some reality when he was still in law school and he informed me that when he was done with that, he really wanted to go back to school and become an architect.  Um, so many issues with that idea (even though architecture is cool!)--his military commitment, his chosen path of lawyer being cemented by law school attendance, and the fact that I was not suffering through law school just to turn around and support him yet again through another school when he already had a perfectly marketable degree.  So yeah, sometimes he has job-related ADD, and I kind of thought his enthusiasm for this random job posting he had just discovered that morning was another symptom of that ADD--something we would laugh about later, but not seriously consider.  I felt that way for about five seconds, until my dear husband informed me that he had started the application process for that prestigious position.  What?  I wasn't sure how he could learn about a job, put out feelers to see if it was even something his bosses would support, get the go-ahead from those higher ups, and contact the personnel people to "throw his name in the hat" for consideration in the span of something like five hours--five hours during which he did not contact me once to see how I would feel about the whole idea.  Maybe that's a sign of his complete trust in my support for him and his career ambitions...or maybe it's a sign that he didn't even think about how this turn of events would affect me and our family.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and go with that first one...even though I have a suspicion it was more the latter.  Hmmm...  Granted, I wouldn't have stopped him from applying for the job, but I would have at least appreciated a conversation before we were thrown into this new possibility.

Fast forward 3 months, his application is complete for that position, and his name comes out on the promotion list.  The get-the-ball-rolling event for our move to Charlottesville had happened, and our ball was firmly stuck--while other families on the promotion list snatched up the desirable Charlottesville rentals, we were still waiting to hear whether Dan was selected for the position that would keep us here another year.  Did I mention that we were supposed to be moving in 3 months?  My stress level was starting to go through the roof--I'm a planner, and I had no idea what to plan for.  The kids' gymnastics center questioned me about our plans for their summer session, and I couldn't commit...because we might be moving.  People asked if I was looking into putting Jake in preschool, and I couldn't even research preschool options...because I didn't know where we would be living next school year.  Our garage is a total disaster of things I need to sell before we move...but were we moving?  The kids pestered me incessantly about the move--they wanted to know why something for which we had spent two years mentally prepping was now up in the air (I wondered the same thing, too, kids).  Dan was selected for the interview phase of the new job, which was a good sign...but with so few slots and so many candidates, it was still a long shot that he would get the position.  The interviews came and went, as did the deadline on which we were supposed to learn our fate, and I thought I would lose my mind with all the waiting and waiting--I just wanted to know what we were doing, one way or another.  Dan had off on Thursday and Friday of last week to spend some family time with us during Abby's spring break, but he had to go into the office on Friday to take care of some business--he went during naptime, and my phone buzzed with a text shortly after he got to his office and checked his email:

"I'm in!!  no packing yet!"

He got the job.  No moving van in three months.  One more year here.  I'm relieved to know what we are doing, and so proud of my husband for knocking it out of the park, aiming high, and achieving his goals.  I'm also extremely nervous--the new job starts in just a few months, and it will be a total change of pace for our family.  Gone are the family-friendly hours, the 5-minute commute, the help at the bus stop...and Dan's ability to get home in time for my exercise classes.  I'm going to be on my own a lot more in managing our kids, and while that's something I'm used to and can handle, I've been spoiled the last two years with him working just down the street, and I know the adjustment is going to be hard.  We also have to shell out a decent chunk of change because the attire for this position is not his military uniform--the only suit Dan owns is one he bought for our honeymoon, and it no longer fits him.  Oh, and I don't iron...  So many feelings bubbling over--I'm excited for Dan, happy to not be prepping for a move and to be staying close to family, but overwhelmed with the changes and the worry over what this new path means for our future.  At the very least, I can bank on our move to Charlottesville next summer--unless my husband gets an email with job openings...kidding...I think?

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