We’re almost outta here, hard as it is to believe. When we arrived two years ago, those 24 months seemed to stretch forever into the future. To put it mildly, I was not enthusiastic about moving here, mostly because we had already bought and were living in our “forever home.” Funny how the Army’s plans rarely mesh with your own. But I knew I could live anywhere for two years, so I kept my negativity to myself and pointed out all the benefits of our new duty station to the kids.
While I’ve had many rough days, living miles from “town” and feeling isolated from the life I’ve known for almost 20 years (we’re nowhere near a military installation of any sort), I’ve found myself a little tearful many times over the past few weeks. In the Army, we don’t say “Goodbye,” we say “See you later.” Because we will, usually, run into friends again and again as we all move around to suit the Army’s needs. This is different. We’ll most likely never see the friends we’ve made here again. Of course, they’re always welcome to visit and explore our region of the country!
The kids attended a small 4K through 8th school, out in the country, with only about 25 kids per grade. Not per class. Per grade. They treated us like family from the start, working with our kids’ individual needs to challenge them in the best way possible. On the last day of school, I made shirts with “Autograph” decals on the back and each classmate signed. What a fun remembrance. Although the 4Kers were a little iffy about writing on a shirt with a Sharpie. I’m guessing that’s a no-no in their homes.
The boys’ classes really made the day special for them, as well. The third grade had a little goodbye party, and they each wrote a card and drew a picture for my Lego-loving boy…most pictures involved either Legos or Minecraft. The teacher then laminated the cards and put them on a ring for a great keepsake.
As the oldest (and having Aspergers) change is quite difficult for him, and he was a wreck the last day of school. We’re proud of his resiliency, though, and his ability to adjust, even though he really has to work at it. The good news is we’re going back to the school where he attended first grade, and since the hubs is retiring (sometime), we won’t be moving again.
The first grade teacher totally rocks. She’s gone above and beyond all year, and I shouldn’t have been surprised when she and one of my mom friends from the class had the kids make this fingerprint art frame…and she took a class photo on the last day to finish it, even.
Of course, the friends I’ve made here didn’t leave me out of the gifting. I’m sure they don’t know that when we leave an Army post, the coffee group gives a gift reflecting your time at that post, and I was a little sad that I wouldn’t have that here. I was thrilled when my friend Elizabeth gave me not only a Wisconsin-shaped cutting board, but also this welcome sign she made, incorporating all the fun things we’ve done together and memories we’ve made here.
I can’t wait to hang it in our home in Washington, to remind me of the friends I made over the past two years (and the way Wisconsin made its way into my heart…just a little!).
And now, on a lighter note, some lists of what we’ll miss:
- Our friends
- Our school
- The snowy winters and sledding in our yard
- Never waiting long for bestsellers at the library (really!)
- Wildlife in our yard…deer, turkeys, woodchucks, and more
Nature Places We Love Here:
- The Ledges Park in Dodge County
- Lapham Peak Park
- Harrington Beach Park on Lake Michigan
- The observation tower at Pike Lake
- Lannon Quarry for swimming
Yummy Places We’ve Eaten:
- Culvers Butterburgers and Frozen Custard
- The Melthouse Bistro(all grilled cheese sandwiches!)
- The Mineshaft Restaurant for Saturday breakfasts
- Famous Dave’s (it’s the best one we’ve ever been to…and we’ve been to a lot of them!)
- Perc Place in Hartford, WI
Places We Never Made It To, But Wanted To:
- The Upper Peninsula (the hubs was there a lot on Army business, but not us)
- The Bronze Fonz
- Mackinac Island
- Washington Island
- Green Bay for a Packers vs. Broncos game
Businesses that We Learned Are Based Here:
- Kohl’s (HQ in the town nearest us!)
- Penzey Spices
- Harley Davidson (no, we’ve not become riders)
- Trek Bicycles (we do ride these bikes, just not Harleys)
- Leinenkugel Beer and Sprecher Brewing (we really like their root beer!)
So there you are…if you find yourself in the Milwaukee area, check these out!