Moving is part of Army life. It's not something I love, but I don't hate it either. It has its challenges (there are LOTS of them, in case you were wondering) but it's nothing we can't handle as a family. Worry is a big part of moving for me. (So is unwrapping my 18 dish packs at each new house, but we'll save that for another time). One of my biggest worries each time we move is my kids. I've said many times before how special I think military kids are. But that comes with a price. And moving every two to three years comes with a big price tag for such little kids. Over the past seven moves or so that I have done with children, I like to think that I have perfected the art of worrying. I have worried about finding just the right teacher for my supremely mature yet kind-hearted daughter. I have lost sleep over my son and his numerous quirks (you must remove the ENTIRE yogurt lid before you give it to him or he will be consumed with the tiniest piece of left-behind silver foil until the yogurt is warm and therefore inedible in his eyes) and whether or not kids will make fun of him. Don't even get me started on doctors, dentists and specialists. If worrying about transitioning your kids was an Olympic sport, I would put Michael Phelps and his 18 gold medals to shame. In short, there is not a worry out there that I haven't worried over when it comes to a military move and my kids.
This summer we moved. And for the first time in seven years, we are not living on a military installation. We actually have a real house! With real wood floors! And a real electric bill! It's been an adjustment for me to not have the immediate bond with the neighbors like you do on post. By the time I had lived at my last house this long, I had a key to two other neighbors' houses and had a few neighborhood dinners under my belt. Not so here in the civilian world. But the kids seem fine, we've had a few play dates and I had pretty much decided that off-post living was going to be my adjusment and mine alone. Wrong.
Last night I laid down with my daughter when I went to kiss her goodnight. This is a rarity because these days if I lie down with her the next thing I know it is 5am and I have the arm to an American girl jammed in one ear and her snoring in my other ear. But I did it anyway. It makes her happy and I know she won't let me do it much longer. She happily giggled, snuggled in next to me and said, "I'm glad you're here. I need to tell you something." Worry alarm! Alert! Alert!
"Oh yeah, what's that?" I calmly asked.
"Well, it's just that I can't sleep in my new room." What is this? A new worry I had not considered?!
"You see, every night since I can remember I have heard Taps play before I fall asleep. I know it is supposed to be a signal for soldiers to go to bed, but I always kinda pretended it was for me too. And now I can't go to sleep without it. Do you think we can get Taps on iTunes?"
For those of you who don't know, military installations play Taps over the loudspeakers every night at 2100 (9pm). Twenty-four trumpet notes that are the most peaceful and reassuring way to end the day, in my opinion. Apparently, I am not the only one. And guess what? Taps is on iTunes. And yes, it's on my daughter's iPod now too. Sweet dreams.