It’s here again. We’re currently in the “season of lasts” – also known as PCS season. It’s always a scramble to close everything out, and run around to do everything –
ONE. LAST. TIME.
If you’re still a little new to PCSing, maybe my checklist of sorts can help you prepare for a similar experience. And if you’re non-military, maybe this can simply provide you with information, and help you understand some of the things a military family endures every time they pack out.
Because the idea out there that the military just handles it all for us and we don’t have to do anything is illusive. We can only dream!
So, this week I scheduled all the last medical appointments.
It’s important to fit in everything we can on this end because it can take awhile to reestablish medical care and continue essential services on the other end.
For example, my daughter has been in occupational therapy for her injured finger and will need to continue therapy once we arrive at our new location.
I’m trying to shorten the gap between sessions, so I’ve scheduled as many appointments as I can right up until a few days before we leave. I’ve thought through where we are on dental and vision exams, and individual well-checks.
If anything is due in the next month or so, I’ve scheduled it for here and now.
I’ve also scheduled, and/or paid for, everything needed to terminate contracts and close out other services we have been using: YMCA membership, the children’s extracurricular activities, television and internet packages, and utilities.
I’ve scheduled and re-scheduled all the last routine house maintenance services.
I need to have the pest control and lawn services completed as close to our final walk-through on our rental home as possible.
If the ant mounds return in the backyard, or the rain encourages the grass to grow back too quickly, we’ll be stuck paying fines for extra services.
I’ve scheduled the move-out clean, carpet cleaning, and our own final walk-through.
When we are in a rental, we also have to be prepared for prospective tenants to walk through our home a few times a week looking through our PCS chaos and deciphering if they could see themselves living there a few weeks later.
The property managers give me a heads up, and I offer,
“Sure, come on over while my children are homeschooling on top of our PCS craziness all over, and my husband is TDY. The house won’t be pristine, but I’ll make it presentable!”
Or something like that. And I’m honestly not even positive I can maintain “presentable.”
If we own the home, and are selling or leasing out, we then must begin working with a realtor, and maybe even a property manager, months in advance.
We must prepare our home for photos (which I feel is the most stressful part of the entire process if we are still living in the home), list the home, work with prospective buyers or tenants for walk-throughs, all the phone calls, meetings, and closing paperwork – that’s enough right there to make one go insane!
If we happen to have a few free hours here and there, or as we’re out and about doing ALL THE THINGS, we’re hitting our favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and local attractions….
ONE LAST TIME.
And while we’re organizing all of those lasts, and confirming every detail has been completed, I’ve been planning the most important “lasts” of all.
We are using every free moment to spend quality time with our special friends ONE LAST TIME: lunches, park dates, birthday parties, outings, a meet-up to give someone items I’m purging and stealing one last quick hug while I do so.
These are the hardest moments for our children, and emotions become more intense.
My heart hurts for them and these challenging transitions, but my mind still races thinking through all the things we still need to fit in one last time so we can leave in peace.
But you know what? We simply can’t do EVERYTHING one last time. And sometimes it’s more important to fit in a day where we have one last time……
TO DO NOTHING.
These seasons of our military lives are completely exhausting and sometimes excruciating to get through.
We have to do it, though, because the military can’t do it all for us.
And we can always find a way to make it work, if we are intentional on how we balance our tasks.
After all, we must go through all the lasts, in order to welcome the adventure of all the firsts!