My shore duty is starting to come to an end which is very bitter/sweet for me. I truly enjoy going to sea, and I am absolutely ready to leave this cubicle. On the other hand, I fully realize that this will mean quite a few goodbyes to the family. I expect that these will be more painful than the ones in the past since I have been home for my son’s entire life, and my daughter is now old enough to know what’s going on. It’s just the nature of the job, and hopefully, some of the pain is mitigated by the fact that Military Gramma now lives with us, so she can help out when I’m gone.
About 2 weeks ago, I found out which ship I will be heading to, and I was fortunate enough to get my first choice. I won’t mention the ship on here, but trust me when I say that I am incredibly psyched. I was so happy when I got the news that watching my beloved Jayhawks get destroyed by Kentucky in the National Championship later that day couldn’t even affect my mood.
There are so many things about this opportunity that I love. First, there are going to be a ton of new opportunities for me. This is a brand new ship class that I have never served on before, and the actual job on the ship will be new for me. I can foresee a lot of very cool events in the future with this job. Because everything will be so new, it also helps to round out my career for future positions. There are a few risks associated with the position, but after weighing those against the benefits, this was #1 on my list by a mile.
Another great thing about this ship is that it’s stationed in San Diego which means the family gets to stay here (this was always my first priority). There are a couple unique elements to this particular job that mean I won’t have to worry about moving my family again for almost 5 years (I’m furiously knocking on wood right now). This means we can look to buy a house now instead of renting. The kids will get to stay in the same school for a few years. We may actually get to do some of the California vacations that we have been planning (although, to be fair, we lived in Virginia for 4 years without ever once visiting Washington, D.C.). There are just so many things about this job that I love. I am incredibly happy that I was able to get it.
Of course, my daughter brought me back down to earth with the foresight that only a 5 year old can bring. As I was telling everyone that would listen about my good fortune, she had one thing to say, “Daddy, I don’t ever want you to leave on your new ship. I remember when you left when I was a baby, and I cried.” It was a pretty sobering reminder of what I have ahead of me.
Of course, it’s what I signed up for, and it’s the game that I play. I will never be happy about leaving the family behind, but it’s necessary for what I do. I recently wrote a guest post on the Ordinary Parent blog that explains my justification for this. It has been extremely well received, so please give it a read if you want any more information. The good news is that since I have to leave my family regardless, I’m able to do it on the ship that I would prefer. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small consolation, but it’s a consolation nonetheless.