This is the time of year that many military people dread. It’s almost spring for most people, but for those of us military types, it’s better known as PCS season. Rather, this is the time when we find out if we are PCSing and to where. (PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station — or moving.) Either you find out that your best friend in the world, or at least until your next base, is leaving or you are leaving.
In our case, the Good Chaplain and I are waiting to hear if we are PCSing and, if so, when and to where. Rumors are buzzing that we are leaving Tinker AFB this summer, but no rumors are circulating about the place. So we sit and wait and ponder past moves.
Like when we lived at Robins AFB in Georgia. Up to that point, because of the Good Chaplain’s schooling, internship and pastorate, we moved on average every two years. When we got to Robins and the powers that be said we would be in place for three years, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I found I wanted to start packing at the two-year mark. We painted the girls’ bedroom instead just for that needed change.
What I wasn’t expecting was the strength of emotions when I found out a good friend, Vicki, was moving. That was just plain wrong. People don’t leave me and move on. I leave them, not vice versa. That one goodbye in the hundreds in my lifetime was probably the hardest I ever had to say.
We were buddies. We hung out together. We walked together. We went to club meetings together. I was Mama Vicki to her little girl. We even had the same first name for heaven’s sake. What was going on here? It didn’t seem fair to me that she should get to leave first, even though they had been at Robins longer.
Besides being my first heartache of someone moving from me, it was also my first lesson in true friendship. Vicki went on to have two more girls, whom I’ve never met. But we kept in touch, mostly through Christmas cards and e-mails and now the military spouse’s best friend, Facebook. She knows my daughters got married this summer. I know hers are impossibly old — like high school age and we are able to follow each other’s spouse’s career.
I love my friends and I hate to leave any of them, but I know those who are true friends will stay in touch over the years and maybe end up together again down the road.