Email Address

Our Location

Oak Ridge, TN

Text to Donate

"VSP2022" to 44-321

Follow Us :

Dipping My Toes into Temporary

Dipping My Toes into Temporary



No! I’m not ready! Not yet!

Should I cry? I kind of want to cry. Do I have time to cry?

Should I laugh? Right. I’m already laughing. That’s a weird laugh. Would people describe that as hysterical? Am I having a hysterical stress reaction?

I’m getting off track. Possibly losing it.

Maybe this is coping.

Right. Gotta compartmentalize…

Gulp down the fear.

Gulp down the sadness.

Gulp down…everything.

Grit teeth, steady shoulders, deep breath.

Feel the pieces start shifting, giant Tetris-style.

We can make this work. Okay.

Okay! Let’s do this!

That craziness was my reaction to my husband’s text I received about a month ago that said: “Just got word about our next move. We’re probably going to have to put OCONUS on the list. We’ll need to talk when I get home. ” In non-military speech, that means that we’re quite possibly going to be looking at a move Outside the CONtinental United States. That means decision time…and soon, too.

You think, as a slightly seasoned military spouse, that you’ve thought of every possible eventuality. You’ve triple-checked every “what if” on your mental preparation list. Inevitably, though, a camouflaged baseball comes at you out of left field.

Panoramic Sunset Over Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

To Breathe or Not to Breathe

Just that morning, I had been driving home, my SUV laden with snapdragons, celosia, lavender, random tomato plants and herbs, and eccentric hanging baskets. There was little rhyme or reason with my plant purchases, but I was smiling at the idea of splashing my front porch with color, with life.

My eyes feasted on our rural landscape, and I released a breath I guess I’d been holding for a while.

I had just felt my toes dip in to this place. Noticed them starting to get stained with this North Carolina red clay. Watched the rush of the river swirl around my chosen boulder. Listened to the ancient whispers of the Appalachians filling up the silhouette of my horizon and decided they could be my mountain lullaby for a while. This could be home. I could get used to this “temporary” – at least for a little while.

With that afternoon text, I saw the expiration date of that fragile dream loom in the not-so-distant future. Time to inhale and hold that breath again.

Waiting for Forever

For now, we will wait. Waiting is right there on the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid in military life. Think you need sustenance? Shelter? Water? Nope, you just need a good, long wait.

That wait will eventually come to an end, and our neighbors will see the moving trucks, the boxes, and me carrying a clipboard checklist around while my eye twitches. …but what do we – or any military families – do in the meantime? @iwillwaitvsp Click To Tweet

After my husband and I discussed what we were potentially going to have to do and accept regarding our next PCS news, things shifted a bit, and we had to settle in for a hurry-up-and-wait. With the pause button pressed, I’ll admit I’ve been lulled back into a false sense of security. I’ve taken my shoes back off and stuck my toes right back into the temporary, thinking I can somehow cling to what we’ve found here.

Contemplating Temporary to Permanency in North Carolina

That wait will eventually come to an end, and our neighbors will see the moving trucks, the boxes, and me carrying a clipboard checklist around while my eye twitches. …but what do we – or any military families – do in the meantime?

We learn to live, really live, in this temporary. We keep our roots shallow but nourished, crying on near-strangers’ shoulders if we need to, finding hidden gems we’ll have to let slip through reluctant but grateful hands, allowing this space to mold us, to leave fingerprints on our souls even as we watch our footprints on its surface wash away.

We dip our toes in the water of this temporary place, knowing that SOMEDAY, if we want to, we’ll get to cannonball into the deep end of permanence.

Tags :
Home,Military Moving,OCONUS,PCS,Temporary
Share This :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Veterans Spouse Project (VSP) is the only nonprofit arts organization in the nation working to give voice to the experiences of military spouses through theatre and expressive arts. Learn more about how to share, connect, listen and create with us in your community. 

Upcoming Events

Skip to content