Oh, the joys of being a military wife. One day you’re hanging out with your girlfriend when you suddenly get a call. It’s not just a call; it’s THE call. The call you’ve been patiently waiting for, the reason you’ll be stressing out for the next (drumroll) 3 months. Just when you thought you had your life put together, your home, even your job. After all these years, your kids are finally used to their school, they finally have friends in the neighborhood, and well you, you’ve finally made friends. Oh, but it’s not a seasonal friend, it’s family: a group of people you consider family that gets together on holidays and other special occasions. But when your phone rings and your husband gives you the news, it changes everything. For some, it’s a massive weight off our shoulders to finally know where you’ll be moving next. For others, it’s bittersweet. You see, being an adult is sometimes being like a kid. You find your comfort zone, and that makes you put together for the next couple of years. But one thing’s for sure, once you click with certain people, you never want to let go. You have your inner circle, the people you trust, the people who have been there when you’ve hit rock bottom — the people that know your darkest secrets, but also the people that are there to lift you when no one else understands. Your regular friends don’t quite follow you as your military friends do, which brings us back to moving away from the inner circle you’ve loved for the past three years.
I recently came across a spouse that recently found out she is PCSing to North Carolina where her husband Beau Gibson will be stationed on Camp Lejeune. Just by sitting down and hearing her story about her upcoming move, made me realize that not only does this affect our families. But as a military spouse, it affects us as well. I messaged Paige Gibson and asked her to meet with me to further discuss her experience from her move from Oceanside, California. To Yuma, Arizona.
MkAnahy: Paige, what was your first thought when you moved to Yuma, Arizona?
Paige: My first thought after finding out we were moving to Yuma, was a bit interesting. I had never heard of the place let alone knew it existed. When my family and I drove into this desert place in the middle of nowhere, I thought “holy crap, this is where I’m going to be living for the next three years? Really? The lettuce fields are cool to look at, but I’m nervous to be here.” As you can tell, I didn’t love it. I loved the house we first moved into, which was in the Foothills, approximately 15 minutes from base. We explored the place and found Yuma’s shopping mall, The Palms, drove around downtown and got passes to the water park which was honestly the best thing we could have done for our family! I got spoiled in Oceanside before moving to Yuma, so it took a few months to adjust to all the surroundings. I then realized my daughter loved her school and her friends and wanted to make it a positive move for her and eventually began to adjust to the area little by little. It’s a small place and easy to get around and to meet my friends here helped me see the good in Yuma.
Mk Anahy: When you got to Yuma, did you make friends right away? And if so, do you still talk to them?
Paige: Yes, well it took two months. My husband’s friend that he went to Intel school with was also PCSing to Yuma but didn’t get here until a month and a half after us. My husband said that his wife and I would get along well and turns out we did! She was my first friend here and still is to this day! I met a lot of couples after hosting BBQ’s and made friends with many cool people. People that turned into my best of friends! I hope they get stationed by us again!!
Mk Anahy: What were some of the challenges you faced while being stationed in Yuma? Was your husband gone all the time? If so did you look for resources to keep you busy? Did you work while being in Yuma? Did your husband’s workplace make sure to include your family in events and up to date with any training your husband had to attend?
Paige: Thinking back, some challenges I had in Yuma, was having to take care of my baby that was only a month old. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with him while I’ve been here. A challenge was having to move on base after living off base for quite some time because the owner of the house we were renting from decided to put his home on the market. I’m so glad it happened because I was now closer to my friends, but I also feel safer living on base. It wasn’t the same for my daughter; it was challenging for her to switch schools. I contacted the school liaison on base, and she helped me narrow down the best school for my daughter to attend. When we moved to Yuma, I remembered the school liaison was a resource provided for the military families. My husband was gone during our first summer in Yuma with training in 29 Palms. Although I knew there were resources out there, I reached out to my friends for help. My husband’s shop was very communicative with the families. We hardly received any information regarding our husband’s training dates or any special events for the families. That was one thing I enjoyed from my husband’s old shop in Oceanside. They took care of the families and provided them with different resources.
Mk Anahy: What is the best thing that happened to you or your family while being stationed here? Why type of bond did you make with your inner circle that your regular friends back home will never understand?
Paige: The best thing that has happened here was my friends! My daughter (who is 10) made some great friends, and so did my husband, son and me. We have a special bond because we share somewhat the same experiences that most of my friends from back home don’t understand. It’s essential to have at least one loyal military spouse to talk throughout all your troubles with the military lifestyle. Being a military spouse is challenging but making friends have someone to talk to, or to have someone to have a few drinks with while watching movies keeps you sane. It also creates some memorable moments with the people you love the most!! Although we faced many challenges, we also learned to cherish the good memories every day and be grateful for the people you meet in your life.