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My phone rang. Little did I know, this was the phone call I had been waiting for for months.

“Hey,” I answered, unaware of who was on the line.

The rest of that conversation was a blur, because that phone call changed everything.


And it was not what I expected.


My husband was on the other end of the line ready to give me the news all military spouses brace themselves for….. the next assignment.

“We’re going to Fort Carson”.

For a brief moment, I was in shock, and just as quickly, I was in despair. I started to choke up, and my voice quavered. “ I really wanted to go back to Washington,”  I cried.

We both wanted to go back to Washington. In fact, once the marketplace opened during the spring, it was the first place we chose. I spent hours looking at schools and trying to decide where I’d want to live.

I sent messages to every person I knew who still lived there and told them that I might be moving back. I knew it was unwise to assume we would get it, but in my mind, it was a sure thing.


For months we waited to hear our fate, and for months I hoped.


I hung up the phone and cried. I have lived through many disappointments and hardships during my spouse’s career, but this one seemed to be one of the worst in a very long time.

Colorado was not even in our top five choices for our marketplace options. In fact, it was our 6th pick. Because of it being so low on the list, I never imagined it would be a viable option.


But I suppose I should have known better.


It’s been over 8 years since we have experienced “big army” life, and that alone feels scary to someone who has practically forgotten the rhyme and reason of brigade operations.

I have forgotten what month long training and staff duty feels like.

I can recall with chagrin deployments and blackouts.

But all of these things felt like a distant memory until I heard those words on the other end of that phone.


As the news settled, I found myself deep into research, and really wondering how anyone figured anything out before social media existed.


What schools would be best for my kids? Where should we live?

It’s been a few months since that phone call and I still don’t have those answers. And in the new year, our time will be even more limited to figure it out as our time in the Midwest comes to a close.

I worry for my kids and how this big life change will affect them. They’ve both lived in Illinois practically their entire lives. But I hope that this change will be positive for all of us, even though it will be hard.


That phone call changed it all, and I hope for the best as our future comes racing toward us.


After all, living in a place you’ve never been and learning to start over is part of this life. I hope the fear will be unfounded and the disappointment I felt when I got that news will become gratefulness.

Wish us luck!



Editor’s Note: On behalf of the Mission:Milspouse Team, we wish Mary and her family lots of luck on the move and to remind her that she will find her tribe in Colorado. If anyone reading this is at Fort Carson, leave Mary Spangler a note in the comments!




  • Mary Spangler

    Mary was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. She currently lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, SFC Spangler, their two sons, and one cat. Previous duty stations include Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, Rivanna Station, Virginia, and Fort Shafter, Hawaii.


  1. Anna Spafford

    Hey Mary, i lived in that area for four years if you need any help! Happy to offer insight to a fellow spouse.

    • Kathleen Palmer

      Thanks Anna- I hope you guys can link up- Love Milspouse Tribes!


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The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

If you’ve read any of my blog submissions on Mission Milspouse lately, you’ll likely see a pattern where I have been mostly writing about what I’ve learned being a military spouse for the past twenty years but in presented in slightly different ways. In addition to...

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