We are inbound to Chicago for a small layover before the big flight to London. I have a had a cocktail and I am taking big deep breaths while thinking about the last few days. It was a whirlwind. That is not the warm vodka I snuck in my carry-on talking, it’s reality.
The past few days have been a blur of packing, moving rentals, emailing paperwork, selling vehicles, emailing more paperwork, unpacking what was already packed and then trying to find the time to tell everyone important in our lives “goodbye.” It was all physically taxing and at some points emotionally unbearable. But sitting here sipping a screwdriver, I recognize we wouldn’t be here without our “team.”
Let’s go back to when we were kids, and we had to pick teams. You looked across your schoolmates or neighbors and you mentally weighed your options. You made selections by what you knew about the person and what you valued for your team. You may have picked the fast kid, who wasn’t always a team player but made goals. Or you may have picked the kid that wasn’t rated for speed but was a natural born leader that everyone liked. Big picture, you picked your team.
In the military, your team picks YOU. You often don’t know a whole lot about people before you are telling them where your “naughty” box is hidden in case you die suddenly. Your team is often made up of people in your same season of life or sometimes just your geographical location. Your team looks very different from when you were a kid.
Here is a glimpse of our team.
A few days ago, we realized we were in a bit of a pickle. Due to the high demand of beach rentals we would have to move from our two bedroom back to a one bedroom. Not really a big deal at first glance until we did some math. Because of the gap between our check-out time and check-in time, we would have 3 kids in a parking lot with 18 pieces of luggage and zero vehicle to store them while we waited. To add yet another obstacle, Zac was attempting to be a paperweight on some young Marine’s desk until he could get a second “Exception to Policy Letter” so that we could actually get on the flight to London. So I would be in charge of managing all the chaos back at the beach on my own. It looked about as bleak as lipstick during Covid. (I miss lipstick y’all, but what is the point these days.)
To all those that know me, I am no good at asking for help. I use to think it was a matter of pride but then realized I more hate the feeling of putting anyone out due to the magnitude of crazy that is my life. Over the past 3 years, most that are close to me just step in and take over when they see I’m drowning. On this day, I was in the Pacific Ocean with bricks tied to my feet and my hands tied behind my back. I was almost numb from making decisions, but I had an ace up my sleeve. I have a team.
Here arrives my cousin, who is a free-spirited goddess that follows the tide and even she thinks my circumstances are bleak. She offers to take loads of luggage to a neighbor’s house so we aren’t stranded in a parking lot. Homegirl drives a Prius. So if you are any good at spatial recognition that is about 20 trips. I embrace this fact and thank God my cousin loves me enough to help. Then steps in another soul sister, Bernadette. Bernadette is classic. From the first time I met her she was instantly warm, raucously funny and effortlessly wise. While I don’t see her often, time with her seems very rich and full of connection. I also love that her mother is from England, and so she has been my cheerleader for the past few months. Bernadette rolls in hot, literally. She shows up at my beach cottage just about the time all hell is breaking loose with hot scones, cream and jelly. I am elated as I was about to feed my children ramen for breakfast. She comes in and sees the mess that is my current situation and she immediately starts cleaning, loading her car and tending to kids. She needed no guidance, she just jumped right on in. As more people arrive to help make loads, Bernadette also makes friends with them. She is infectious, the good kind.
After vacating the property like a band of wild gypsys we find safe haven at a neighbor’s house. She offered to let us stay at her place while she was away, but me being me, I didn’t want to impose. At this point, I’m pretty resolute on accepting help. After we get settled, we receive news that Zac has been the world’s most annoyingly squeaky wheel and gotten all the paperwork approved. I breathe a huge sigh of relief and I am thankful for one of my oldest and dearest friends, Michele, who loaned us a vehicle for Zac to stalk appropriately. I’ve been friends with Michele since we were stationed in Camp Lejeune almost 8 years ago. She always comes to my rescue without judgement. By the close of the day Zac and I are clutching whiskies on our friend’s couch recounting the chaos.
This was just one day out of our whole move experience and just a small example of our team. We had countless friends that popped in to help clean, take care of kids, make us dinner, wash clothes, loan things we needed, the whole gambit. I am deeply sad to leave that all behind.
So now, as I stare out the window 10,000 feet in the air, I am grateful for my team. I didn’t get to line them all up and pick them. They came to me. Today, I wish I could line them all up and thank them. The mental image of seeing all those loving faces, side by side, makes my throat stick to not cry out of shear gratitude.
So if life is a team sport, I roll with a bunch of professionals.