When Not Changing Is the Change {What’s Going On These Days}

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I plumb broke down in the laundry room yesterday, giving into that sobbing kind of ugly cry you do when no one else is looking.

Did I have a big fight with my husband? Nope. Did I learn a loved one is dealing with cancer? Nope. Did I discover my brand new skirt shrank because I forgot to pull it from the laundry before it hit the dryer and roasted on high heat? Yep.

Forget straw and the camel’s back. It was the wardrobe malfunction (of sorts) that broke my resolve.

A momentous day for my family speeds toward us. On December 18th, David officially retires from the Air Force. And while that may not sound like a big deal to you, it sure feels like one to our family. It requires a lot of preparations, both for the ceremony and party. We have more family coming into town as have ever visited at one time, so it suddenly seems imperative that I wrap up the half-dozen home improvement projects I’ve started over the past 3 years.

And since we’re completely crazy, we thought now would be an awesome time to add a couple home renovation projects to our agenda. Nothing says peace and calm like torn up kitchen floors.

So in all my party-prepping and furniture-staining and scrapbook-making, I haven’t had time to really process the change a life separate from the military is. So I give into the chaos and do weird things like cry over laundry or behave as if the kids’ garland of socks strung throughout the house might bring down the free world. Then I cry again and spend the rest of my time apologizing to everyone who lives under my roof.

Last Sunday, as my husband and I walked from the children’s area to church, I clung to his arm and said with a heavy exhale, “Baby, I’m so sorry I keep saying things I have to say sorry for.” 

This is such an exciting, beautiful time for my family. The world is a winter white canvas, and we hold the tools for designing our future. I say good-bye to things I won’t miss, like deployments and threats of deployments. No more fretting about school systems or wondering which furniture didn’t survive the move.

Still, I’m sad to say goodbye to some things. I will miss being a part of the active duty military, even as I know that like family, once you’re in, you’re in. It’s also a scary, stressful time as we are still wading through change. But for the first time in a long time, not changing is the change. 

And I’m surprised at how this takes some getting used to.

Photo above by the talented Angela Klocke.

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  1. What a lovely picture. And what a lovely heart you have.

  2. Love this–and you. Semper Gumby, my friend–always flexible!

  3. Having recently transitioned out (not retirement…but still) I get what you are going through. The months before separation were hard and so was the adjustment afterward. Big hugs to you – and no you aren’t crazy for crying over the skirt. :)

  4. You guys are too cute! Congrats on the retirement. How long was he in? My son is in the Air Force and serving in New Mexico…

  5. Oh… Kristen. What a huge deal. Wow. I didn’t realize this was coming for you guys.

    My grandpa is a retired AF Colonel and my brother is a Captain/F-15 pilot and I kind of get what you’re talking about. Huge, massive transition. I can imagine how the grief comes up right along side the excitement and I just pray, right now, that the Lord will hold your heart and your family’s hearts through all the change. May you sense His nearness tangibly.

    So appreciate your heart!

  6. Congrats!!! Hope the transition goes smoothly. You are not crazy for crying over your skirt. I had to ask hubby how much he loved me a few days ago because I accidentally dried his wool sweater that now fits our 12 year old :) bad part I can’t just go replace it because we live overseas. :(. Good luck

  7. Oh my friend at heart, this will be me in one year! Praying for your family as you transition. Be blessed.

  8. Congratulations to you and your family.

  9. Love the picture of you and your husband! As always, love your heart too! Change is never easy is it? So very grateful to your husband for his service and to you and your children for the sacrifices you’ve made. We’ve only been a military family for a few years but as I read your post I could already understood how the change could be emotional. Saying a prayer for you. Lots of love as you prepare for your celebration. {Hugs}, Beth

  10. Wow…what a time in your life. Overwhelming even if its good. Uncertainty is hard no matter what. At times like these we just have to be honest and ask our loved ones for an extra measure of grace. Bless you all!
    Elise Daly Parker recently posted..Great Gifts That Give to Others

  11. Sarah Parmater says:

    I love the picture. I will be one to tell you that it will take awhile to let it all sink in. My husband’s retirement was one that rarely happens. Our son graduated from the Academy in 2011, so I was getting everything ready for that. Add to that my husband’s retirement, emotions running all over the page. It was awesome though. My husband swore our son into the AF and then our son turned around and retired his father. Talk about an emotional moment. You will find your calm in the “real” world. Family will help, life will be fine. With God guiding you and calming you, you will find the “new” you. Please contact me if you want to talk more. I know what you are feeling and going through.

    • Oh my heart, what an amazing story! My emotions spill over just reading about it!

      Thank you for this beautiful comment, Sarah. You are helping already. xo

  12. Oh, my sweet friend, I’m so happy for y’all while sending you hugs and “it will all be fine” assurances. Reading this I had a hard time imagining what it will be like when we finally learn we will be out of the banking life. It’s not that dissimilar to the military moving routine. I imagine the thought of a completely different lifestyle is jarring. Thanks for your honesty over the stress that comes with the blessings too.

  13. For me, change has always been bittersweet. And shrinking your skirt, that’s why my husband now does the laundry. I’m not good with laundry. Hope your transition comes with a blessing you didn’t expect.

    • It always feels bittersweet to me too, at least for a little while.

      “Hope your transition comes with a blessing you didn’t expect.” <– Praying your words for our family now. Thank you for them, Shelly. xo

  14. Beautiful. Praying for you all as you go through this “not change”. :) And thank you for being real about the tears. We all sure know what that kind of crying is like, when it’s all brought on by that last little thing that breaks you. We understand. We’re praying and we sure do appreciate you being so honest. Breathtaking picture!

  15. Oh, girl! I was just in the laundry room 2 days ago blubbering over everything and nothing. My oldest son came and asked what was wrong, and I literally used the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” In reality, it was another TDY, another new home for Christmas, and starting over…again. We kicked the retirement can down the road a few more years, but know it’s approaching rapidly. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. Love you dearly, Kristen!

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