DON'T YOU DARE SCROLL DOWN AND RUIN THE SURPRISE! I MEAN IT, PEOPLE! ;)
Around 7:30 pm last night, just as we were about to finish our dinner of baked fajitas (a healthy dinner staple in our household as of late), D jumped up off the couch with his iPhone in hand and shouted "CASEY, THE EMAIL!!!" The email?!? We'd been waiting 3 months for this thing. With Olivia Pope screaming orders on the TV in the background, tears immediately started welling up in my eyes. We both looked at one another with panic...suddenly, neither of us were ready to open it. Isn't that how it always goes? You wish and pray and hope for something and the instant you're about to get it, you second guess your level of readiness? We'd been expecting this assignment notification any day. We were angry it was taking so long and we'd both become discouraged...but the second it was within our reach, we froze. We both had to take a second to compose ourselves…to let the realness of the moment sink in. We were about to know where we will begin the next chapter of our military journey…the next chapter of our married lives. This email could tell us where we'll start a family…buy a house, even. This is where we'll spend the next 3 to 4 years celebrating Christmases, birthdays, and entertaining visitors (pending that they'd want to visit us at this new destination). The heaviness of the pit in my stomach was almost enough to make me puke. Being on the precipice of a huge life-changing moment like this is hard to describe. It's a flurry of hopeful thoughts, scared thoughts, and excited thoughts all at once. The time had come and there was no going back.
In true military fashion, this email wasn't one you just open and your fate would be written out in bold, perfect letters. Jumping through hoops is another one of the Air Force's favorite games. We had to click around and log into things, certify we understood terms and continue breathing. Finally we'd reached the link that would reveal our next duty station. Still not ready to take the plunge, we locked our arms together and said a short prayer. No matter the location, no matter how far away from our families or how difficult the job, we were giving it up to God. He's always been faithful in blessing us with good things, things we never knew we wanted or needed, and we were sure that no matter the news, His plan and provision would continue to be the song of our hearts. As ready as we'd ever be, we opened our eyes and clicked the link:
Get your Coppertone, bikini, and Mickey Mouse ears ready, because Team Coté is moving to…
From the land of lederhosen, bratwurst, and cloudy skies to the land of sunshine, seafood, and the "Happiest Place on Earth"…I've got to say, we're both STOKED about our new assignment!! While this particular Florida base wasn't on our dream sheet (I never even knew this AF base existed, to be perfectly honest), as it turns out, this location might be better than what we were originally gunning for. We'll be right on the Atlantic ocean, a 9 hour drive from our North Carolina home, 2.5/3 hours from Miami & Tampa (hello, CRUISING!!), and just a 1 hour drive from Orlando and Disney World!! If you knew what a HUGE fan D and I are of Disney World, you'd know we're positively DYING over our proximity to the Mouse! We were so worried we'd end up in an area with nothing to do or see and no one would ever come visit us. Thankfully, that'll be FAR from the case! Needless to say, our families are thrilled. It was a lot of fun calling everyone last night and letting them in on the news we'd all been waiting for. Some days I think they were more impatient to know than we were! It warmed our hearts to know they're so excited to get us back stateside again. And interestingly enough, while I'm still sad about leaving Germany, I'm actually really looking forward to getting to Florida! Now that we know we're not moving to Montana or some unknown corner of the world, we're excited to get this moving ball rolling and make our way back to America. Funny how one little email can change your perspective, huh? I bet you guys knew that would happen, didn't you? ;)
So, the wait is finally over. Once again, I didn't do a great job waiting, but maybe by the 4th assignment I'll be a patience pro. Now begins the exciting, but stressful few months of planning and prepping for our big move. I can honestly tell you I'm least looking forward dealing with movers and packing and the logistics of it all, but it's gotta be done. Thank you guys SO STINKIN' MUCH for hanging tough with me as I lamented about all our life uncertainties these last few weeks. Your encouragement and support was much needed and so very much appreciated!! Keep it coming, won't ya? We Took the Road Less Traveled is moseying on to the Sunshine State…hope you'll join us for the journey!!
[And if you're a Central Florida blogger or military spouse, email me!! I need friends! HA!]