So this is what it's like to move all the time:
Lots of people you know and love will look at you and tell you they think you're amazing for moving so much. That they don't know how you do it. That you must be super organized and totally on top of the clutter and build-up of the years both in terms of dust and school papers.
Once you've heard it a few times it makes you want to scream.
Not because you aren't appreciative of the compliment, but because it couldn't feel farther from the truth.
There is nothing amazing about being surrounded by so many boxes of stuff when you thought you worked hard to sell/donate/toss. There is nothing amazing about not knowing how to solve the puzzle of where to put your things, even if your house is bigger than the last one (and especially if it's smaller). There is nothing amazing about not being able to find X, Y, or Z for weeks on end. There is nothing amazing about imagining your friends in other towns enjoying their summers like normal people—swimming lessons, plenty of summer groceries stocked and ready to go, flowers in pots and birdfood in feeders. And there is definitely nothing amazing about setting up internet service with a new company.
Instead of running outside to play with friends, your children watch too much TV, bicker at the smallest of imagined injustices, and cling to each other while missing their own friends. They aren't feeling all that amazing either in those early days, because they know that NEW is HARD. New schools to figure out, new library culture to learn, new neighborhood boundaries to navigate, and the "new kid" badge to wear. Their new teammates are sizing them up, extra-watchful of skills and judging whether or not they'll be a threat. It's tiring, all this newness, when all you want is familiar. Even if familiar was new just one year before.
Meanwhile... it's easy to fall into the trap to believe that you're the only one struggling. Your amazing military friends who are moving too? They actually do have it together, you think. Their dust and school papers are managed. They're navigating their new Targets and commissaries without standing in the aisles ready to burst into crazy lady tears because the cereal is in the wrong place. Their boxes are unpacked and recycled by the seventh day and most likely have friends their kids actually know lined up to be emergency contacts. They're showing up and smiling and have already invited the neighborhood kids over for ice cream and lemonade, because they have a full house of groceries. That, by the way, they didn't pay for with the credit card because they aren't sure for another month exactly what the cash flow is going to look like.
It's exhausting to be friends with all these perfect people.
And then: the stories start to spill out. Like the one friend who ended up driving a billion miles in the wrong direction in crazy San Francisco Bay traffic because she accidentally got on the wrong road when all she wanted was to go to Costco. And another friend who lost her cat on moving day only to discover it stowed away in the moving truck for five whole deathly hot days (but survived to see another). Or the friend whose one chance to pull cold weather gear out of long-term storage after a stint in Japan resulted in a mis-labeled box of outgrown children's books that will not keep her children warm for the upcoming year in a new place (where the bulk of the stored stuff stays in storage). Or the new friend whose overseas shipment just never showed up, lost in a port somewhere. Slowly, it begins to occur to you that the stress of moving has caused you to have an active imagination about how your military friends are experiencing their own moves.
And suddenly, you realize that you all really are pretty amazing, because you've all managed to survive these tales you're telling each other. You remember that new is often exciting, and brave adventures can bring a family closer together. Eventually you'll have flowers in pots and birdfood in feeders too, and you'll eat outside on a perfect summer evening and wonder what all the fuss was about a few weeks ago. You'll get the last of the boxes to the recycle center eventually, and use your amazing powers to erase all memory of their existence.
Until next year, when you get to do it all again.