Saturday, May 26, 2012
The Party's Over
Since 2001, when our son (the Naviguesser, the oldest of our kids) was commissioned in the US Navy, our family has had one or more kids stationed in the Norfolk area. Our oldest daughter (the Nuke) followed four years later.
The youngest's (the WSO) first assignment was Pensacola. Much to my regret, we didn't make it down there to visit until her winging ceremony. Shortly after that, she was assigned to NAS Oceana, in Virginia Beach.
Now there was a small break in that streak when the Naviguesser was assigned to Bath, Maine as part of the Pre-Commissioning Unit of DDG-94, the Nitze. But for the most part, our family has had someone in the Norfolk area. For 11 years. That's quite a while in my book.
So for eleven years the Missus and I have traveled to Virginia to visit, usually at least twice a year. Don't know if you've ever been there, but I love that area. Sure the traffic can be insane, sure there are a lot of tourists in the summer months. But for quite a while, Virginia has been like a second home for us. And I always enjoyed my visits there.
For one thing, you've got the Naval Air Station. More F/A-18s overhead than you can shake a stick at. Want amphibs? Just drive down the road to Little Creek. Want warships? Head on over to Norfolk. Driving along that pier-side road always gave me goose bumps. Carriers, destroyers, cruisers, attack boats. Man, they've got it all.
Now that's about to end.
Having spent 24 years wearing the uniform, I know all about the "Needs of the Service". And all good things must come to an end.
Lately, it seems the family is getting more and more scattered. The Naviguesser left the Navy about six years ago to pursue a career in computers. It was a good move for him as he is absolutely brilliant in that area. However, his career took him to California. So he's all the way across the country.
Then a couple of years ago the Nuke got her shot at shore duty. Meant she had to leave Norfolk for Memphis, Tennessee. Not a bad place, but (and from my standpoint) there is NO OCEAN there. It's also much further away than Norfolk. Could drive to get there, but it's a long haul.
Now, the WSO and Big Time look to be moving to Lemoore. In California. Across the entire country. Lemoore, in the middle of nowhere. Again, NO OCEAN! (Though they DO have a passel of F/A-18s out there, that is something. I'll admit.)
So the kids move on in their careers. And me, living vicariously through my kids, has to just suck it up. The Needs of the Service come first. Big Time gets a shot at being an instructor, so that's awesome too.
But dammit. Now I gotta fly a minimum of six freakin' hours to see my grandkids! Woe is me, woe is me.
But I'll get over it. I'll put on my big boy pants and suck it up. Still I am so gonna miss Virginia Beach.