Guest blog by Julie Rivera, Julie Rivera Photography
I knew from the start our time in Columbus was going to be measured in months. 12 of them, to be precise. At the halfway point, we expected to find out where we are heading next. New Year’s came and went and there was nothing. Dinner conversation was filled with the great what ifs and speculation about this base or that. Climate, schools, job satisfaction, my photography business…all of it was taken into account and the conversations continued.
Finally, my husband received the “Great List of Options.” All available jobs for his type of work were listed out in a three page spreadsheet. The base, the location, the unit, all neatly organized for us to peruse. He had to submit his top five choices, then let the chips fall where they may. We discussed, we considered, we picked our top five.
Then we waited. And waited. And grew impatient. And finally heard the final verdict: a move 1400 miles away to a section of the country I have never visited, Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.
Immediately, the planner in me kicked into action. I looked up schools to see where to find the good ones and where to avoid the bad ones. I looked at innumerable house listings, trying to get a sense of what is available on the rental market.
Then the amazing network of military friends kicked in. I reached out to people who just moved from El Paso to get their opinion of the area and where to live. I contacted friends who live there right now to ask their feelings and let them know we are headed their way so we can renew those friendships. Soldiers who were stationed there before collected information to share with us.
And then I realized I only have three months left here. In my current home. Where life is still taking place. Where my girls are still growing and having experiences. So we didn’t flinch at the five hour drive to visit my mom, knowing she will be so much farther away come June. My girls had another four days to fill their memories with a grandmother’s love, tea parties and playing at “Grandma’s Beach.”
I didn’t hesitate to enroll the girls in art classes just this week, even while knowing they will not be able to continue past the end of the school year. I only knew they still had three months to soak up what they can and those three months…well, for the four year old, those three months are 6% of her life.
As much as I would love to start clearing closets, casting out neglected toys, and pouring over the internet in pursuit of “The Perfect House,” I have to be mindful that we are still here. Our days still matter, the friendships made here in Columbus still matter and there is still time to experience our lives here.
So while I plan a househunting trip to find that awesome new home, I also listen to the girls laugh with friends in our neighborhood, hear the daily stories after school and enjoy each day for what it is: a day of life that can be lived in the present or wasted projecting into the future.
The orders are here. But so are we. For three more months.
Julie Rivera has lived within the military her entire life. First as a dependent of a Navy Supply Corps Officer, next as an active duty Navy Supply Corps Officer, and now as the wife of an Army Artilleryman. She has over seven years experience as a mother and over five years experience as the owner of Julie Rivera Photography. Her children might be among the most chronicled on the planet and she absolutely loves when she has the chance to turn her lens on new families and children. See more of her work on her website at http://www.julieriveraphotography.com.
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