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This is not me. It’s not like me to be on the verge of tears during open house at my daughter’s new high school. I’m a grown woman. People write to me for advice, for encouragement. This week I dispensed my wisdom via e-mail and blog on BAH, TDY and PTSD. A veritable alphabet soup of military spouse expertise, that’s me.

This is not me: Sitting in the gymnasium, surrounded by parents I don’t know; envying the moms who are greeting their friends after a summer’s absence, sharing their latest travel adventures; listening to the principal talk about what a wonderful school year we are going to have.

Walking through unfamiliar hallways looking for my daughter and her Accounting I classroom, I feel lost and overwhelmed, especially when I realize that my children face this every day at their new schools.

I’ve been a military wife for 24 years, through ten moves and four overseas assignments. I should have this down cold. I thought I did. Another move? No problem. Pack out, clean up, travel, travel, travel, unpack, hang curtains, join clubs, get involved. No whining, no pining for the halcyon days "at our last base."

Yeah, I’ve got all the answers. Bloom where you’re planted. It’s a small world and all that jazz. Instead, I feel small, while the world is huge. What happened to all that pre-move optimism? Like the queen-size sheets and enough room for all my shoes, I can’t seem to find it.

This was supposed to be an easy move. That’s what everyone said. We just moved a couple hundred miles down the road, and everyone assured me it would be a piece of cake, and I was blindsided.

When it comes to leaving your friends, and all that is familiar, 200 miles might as well be 2,000. New school, new neighborhood, new friends — none of these are respecters of proximity. New is new. A move is a move, and by any other name, it still doesn’t smell so sweet.

Not at first, anyway. I keep reminding my children that the first few weeks at any new place are the hardest.

"Give it time," I say. "Remember our last move? It wasn’t much fun at first either, and then we loved it. This will be the same. It will get better."

So I keep giving myself the same advice. The unpacking will finally be finished. The strange will become the familiar, and I’ll stop feeling so homesick for a place I called home for three years. The friends, however, I’ll hold on to.

In our new home, I am meeting people. I do see an occasional familiar face or two at the commissary or at chapel. I know the seeds are there, and I will bloom where I’ve been transplanted once again. I am a resilient military spouse, after all. I know it. I just don’t feel it yet.

Filmmaker Donna Musil, who created "Brats: Our Journey Home," and I have an ongoing conversation about the long-term effects of military life, including moving. She told me in a recent e-mail that she thinks extolling resilience "is the equivalent of ‘get over it.’"

Resilience is necessary to survive any life, military or otherwise. However, I agree with Donna. "Get over it" is a retort, not a remedy.

When it comes to moving, I guess, practice does not make perfect.

Being uprooted is painful every time, and there are no easy answers.

I may not get over it, but I will get through it.

And that is me.

Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany. Write to her at spousecalls@stripes.com and see the Spouse Calls blog at: http://blogs.stripes.com/blogs/spousecalls.


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