Story courtesy of guest blogger, Bobbi Pack, from our friends at My Military Savings
We have done a PCS many times, across the country and back again. But, when my soldier came home and told me we were PCSing from California to North Carolina I was a little blown away…that is about 3,000 miles. Then he hit me with it, I was PCSing without him…WHAT! He just told me I had to PCS alone with two kiddos and two dogs, my mind went blank and I began to cry. How in the world would I be able to handle all of this, how was I going to do this without my best friend, my support? I honestly had no idea but I knew I had to, I signed up for this right? I married a soldier knowing my life was going to be anything but a Norman Rockwell poster.
I put my big girl face on and told my soldier I can do this, everything will be fine even though in my heart I was scared to death. I had helped my soldier with the past few PCS’s but never on my own, so I did the only thing I could think of carry on without worrying about it. I can still remember taking him to the airport and counting the steps as he walked away from security and toward his terminal, I had a tear roll down my face and my heart was pounding. This was it, he was gone and I had to step in and take care of my family and a PCS alone. My soldier left in May for four months of training and I was left behind with the kiddos to finish up the school year and move across the country. We lived off post so he cleared before he left which made it easier for me to coordinate the move.
I knew I needed to make this PCS as stress free as possible, so I spent the weekend before the movers were to arrive mapping out my trip, I looked for hotels that were dog friendly and had a pool, after all it was June and I knew after hours in the car the kiddos would need to burn off some energy. I planned on only driving 7 hours a day, I needed to not overdo it and driving at night was not an option. I created a menu for us, I wanted to save as much money as possible so I went to the commissary and purchased enough food for 8 days – 3 meals a day. Yes, I did choose hotels that had a free continental breakfast, but I wanted to make sure I had breakfast bars just in case. For lunch I planned on sandwiches, fruit, chips and some yummy cookies, after all this was a mini-vacation. I made sure the ice chest had plenty of bottled water, juice boxes and soda-pop for me, I needed the caffeine.
The day was finally here and at 8:00 a.m. just as promised there was a knock at the door–it was the movers… time to pack! They went through our house like a tornado; all 8,500 lbs were packed in 1 day and they would be back the next day to load. Wow, it was really happening and I was doing it all by myself. I was very proud at this point I had managed to do everything alone. The next day the movers packed the truck and waved good-bye and that was it: our house was empty. I wanted to make that night special for the kiddos, so a carpet picnic with a movie on the lap-top sounded good. After all, the next day would be filled with cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. This was really happening and the next day it would be our turn to start the trip to our new home on the other side of the country.
We arrived in North Carolina in 8 days and I had about a month to get the house ready to welcome my soldier home. After the house was all together, the kiddos were all registered in school I broke down and cried. I could not believe what I had just done; I had managed to PCS alone with just the kiddos and myself across the country. I was so proud of myself and all I did. I had the strength to do it not just for my soldier, my kiddos, or myself, but for all of us, we are a team. Somehow everything managed to work out and fall into place. I will never forget the feeling I had in my heart knowing I had accomplished this task without a broken bone or scratch on anything. I went to the airport to get my soldier and when he walked into our new home he was floored to see I had basically picked up our home in California and moved it to North Carolina all by myself and without 1 complaint. He told me how proud he was of me and that first hug and kiss in our new home was the start of a new chapter in our lives.