Trillium & Lighthouses

From Ontario…

Never do I feel more like a military spouse than when I have to sell my house, the one in which I’ve lived for less than 2 years, and look for a new one in a new city, so that I can live in that one for less than 2 years.

The coming and going, the ups and downs, the adjusting and readjusting, the moving, the moving, the moving, the moving…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this life is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the weak, it’s not for those who don’t want to change and grow and it’s not for those who think they’ve got it all figured out. Because if there’s one thing I have figured out, it’s that I’ll never have this all figured out.

Let’s just look at what we, and countless others, have been dealing with the past six months:

The Fall
– get unofficial word you’re posted –> purge the hell out of your house and take a good look at what needs to be done before you list your house to sell
– start obsessing over MLS even though 99% of the houses you fall in love with will be sold by the time you are actually in a position to buy one
– realize that you have no idea what the next 6 months of your life will be like and adopt either a “laissez faire” attitude or an “I hate uncertainty” attitude. Or, if you’re like me, flip flop often between the two

The Winter
– finally get official Posting Message: It’s GO time!¬†
– hardcore house prep which includes but is not limited to renos, paint, staging, more purging, hiding any important documents so that you can’t find them until you eventually unpack them in a random box marked “computer parts” 9 months from now
– get your house on the market and remain hopeful that you will be one of the lucky people who has 9 showings and 2 offers on the first day (I’m looking at you, Miss S, and while I am happy for you I also hated you just a *bit* in the winter. But you redeemed yourself by helping us repaint our entire main floor in 2 days)
– cheerfully prepare for the first few showings, crossing your fingers that “this might be the one!”

The Spring
– weeks and months later, angry-clean your house for the 37th time and think, “If these f*ckers don’t buy this G.D. house I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind”
– re-paint and re-stage your entire main floor to appeal to the masses
– consider how you will manage solo parenting for the next 2 years while Hubby moves without you
– ask your hubby to start looking at civilian jobs
– start buying lottery tickets

One Blissful Day…
– get an offer
– negotiate and accept
– get on your knees and kiss the ground

Later That Same Spring
– fly to your new city

…To Halifax!

– race through as many houses as humanly possible in one day
– find one! Make an offer! It’s accepted! (Home inspection, bank, lawyer, septic/well/radon/potability testing all in 3 days) OR didn’t find one! Look again! Spend more money!)
– get back to current home and start getting sad about all the things you’ll miss about this house
– start looking forward to new house features
– feel grateful that this life offers so many varied experiences
– start detaching from life here so as to protect yourself from falling apart in 7 weeks
– feel hateful that this life forces you to leave so much behind
– feel grateful
– feel hateful
– feel hateful
– feel grateful
– consider self medicating.


I have many military friends. We all talk about moving a lot, especially this time of year. People will run into me and ask, “Did your house sell yet?”, “How was your House Hunting Trip (HHT)? Did you get a great house?”, “When do you leave?”. These questions are easy to answer.

What few people ask, though, is “How do you feel about pulling out the the roots that you’ve planted here that have only just begun to grow?”, “Are you feeling a lot of ups and downs right now?”, “Do you feel guilty that you’re excited to go somewhere new because you feel like you’re being disloyal to the friends you’ve made here?”, “Are you terrified of having to start all over again?”, “Do you ever feel like you’ll never be able to get truly comfortable somewhere because you always know it’s just short term?”.

And those, my friends, are the big questions. And more than worrying about selling our houses, these are the ones that keep us up at night. And these are the things we have in common, because I’m sure I’m not alone in knowing exactly how I’d answer all of the above questions.

There are so many amazing benefits of living a military lifestyle, and I am aware of them all. Many days I feel grateful for them all. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is also really hard.

So my military wife friends, I see you. I know you. I feel you. It’s okay if you’re simultaneously happy, excited, devastated, grateful and hateful. I am, too.¬†

And friends and family of military wives, please don’t mistake our excitement about something new for a lack of sadness over leaving you behind. Because believe me, we are positively torn up about it. But smiling and looking forward to the new adventure is the only way we can keep it together. If we truly thought about how hard it will be to leave you behind, we would would crumble and fall and we would never be able to get back up.

So this posting season, friends, I send out an extra big lot of love to all of you. The ones who are leaving and those being left behind. It isn’t easy on anyone, so all we can do is give ourselves the space to feel our feels and do the best we can.

Take care,


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