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Japan? My head is swimming!

justmakingthebest's picture

DH will be deploying this year. After that it is a follow on to Japan. We were told he wouldn't be there long enough for the family to join him but just basically expect him to be gone for 1.5-2 years. I am emotionally prepping for that as much as one can with 3 teens at home. 

Last night he comes home and tells me he has a list of about 500 people that he needs answers by Friday (tomorrow!) on if their family is going to make the move to Japan. Then he pauses, looks at me and said- we are on the list. 

WTF. What do you mean? Is your deployment shorter? Cancelled? Just going straight there after the yard period? What is happening? When is this happening? ALL THE QUESTIONS

No answers. Not one. 

Can we bring special needs SS23? Don't know

BS17 will be starting his sr. year in the fall, will this be before or after he graduates? Don't know

DD15 will be starting her sophmore year, can we stay there until she graduates so she doesn't have to attend 3 high schools? Don't know

So how the F am I supposed to answer if we are going with him? How do I not go with him if I can? He doesn't want to do a solo overseas tour. I don't want him to.

We have to consider our kids in all of this and who will take care of them. BS17 could finish is sr. year with my parents if needed, they are in our school district and he is super close to them. But what about DD. She could go live with her dad and wanted to a couple of years ago but now says she doesn't want to and doesn't even want to visit him much anymore. SS just got offered a real job as a welder and will be making $22/hr. That is incredible for him and he has worked so hard. But he isn't ready to live on his own. I can't ask my parents to take both the boys. They don't have the space. 

I hate the Navy today. That is all. 


NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

That is really tough and a lot to consider! I hated my stint with DH in the marine corps because they never give information that people want to know especially those with family that NEED more information.

I am hoping this works out the best it can for you and your family. While there are definitely some perks on if DH stayed in the marine corps, there were way more downsides for us so I am really happy he got out. However, your DH has been in longer and makes sense for him to stay in. My DH was in for 8 years and it was either get out now or stay in until retirement.

justmakingthebest's picture

Yeah, mine has been in for 23 and will do 2 more for sure but hopefully he makes 9 and he can do 30.

For us, it makes sense. This is my first time being in a situation like this, in our 7 years together and in the almost 11 years with my ex I never faced anything like this. Of course having older kids is complicating things more than they would have been back then.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

In such a long time, it still doesn't make it any easier. Definitely is much harder when your kids are teens and then SS is an adult and relies on you both so much. Crossing my fingers you find the best solution for everyone!

Winterglow's picture

I don't know what line of work you are in, but you might also look into whether you can continue with your career, your diplomas may not be acceptable . In fact,look into whether or not you can actually work there. Will there be language classes for you and the family (what a bonus that would be for the kids!)?

ESMOD's picture

It has been a long while since I was part of this.. but I recall that the opportunity for dependent spouses to work when deployed could be limited.. there are only so many civillian type positions.. and working off base when you don't speak the language is almost impossible.. even if you could manage the legalities of it.

As for language.. there are language classes available to everyone.. but they would likely be living on base.. where it wouldn't be necessary for them to use it in day to day life.. though it's nice to know a bit of the language in the country where you are staying.


justmakingthebest's picture

I wouldn't have to work there. If I chose to, there are GS positions in finance or I could find a remote position. Staying here will actually be more financial strain.


MissK03's picture

If I were you I wouldn't uproot everyone for 1-2 year stay Too much going on with kids ages and school. You can always visit him. 

SteppedOut's picture

That's a lot of upheaval for teens that are 15/17. 

Also, SS-special needs has an opportunity at a decent paying job and should be given the opportunity to have that. Getting him to a place where he is more independent is the goal, yes? Don't snatch it away from him for a 2yr deployment.

I know it probably stinks to be away from spouse for that long... but there are 3 other people to consider. 

CastleJJ's picture

There are a lot of factors to consider but you also have to consider YOU. If DH leaves on his tour alone, you have to manage 3 teenagers/adults- BS, your daughter who has been struggling with her own stuff, and your adult SS who is on the spectrum. That is a lot to put on YOU. How do YOU feel about that? 

If you do go with DH, you're right, you have to uproot 3 DD, DS, and SS. I know things have been tense with your ex and his wife. How would moving impact the current custody arrangement? Would your ex fight you on moving? How would the kids feel about all of it? How do YOU feel about leaving your current life, friends, home, work behind to move with DH? Is it worth giving up to follow DH? 

justmakingthebest's picture

You know, I really haven't considered myself more than me missing DH.

Doing it all alone is terrifying. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it. 

DS17 would stay here, it is sounding like we would leave after he graduates. It would be up to DD if she wanted to go or go live with her dad. With all of his moves throughout the years, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. We have done across the country for his career. I would also be willing to drop CS, which is what I think would make him be fine with it.

SS23 is my biggest fear. I just don't think leaving him here is the answer but I don't know if he can come with us. He is still registered as a special needs dependent, so may he able to come...

I am fine leaving here. The experience of living overseas would be a million times worth it. We are planning on leaving this area when DH retires anyway. 

AlmostGone834's picture

I don't really have any good advice to give as the older I get, the less inclined I am to become a wanderlust. My roots have grown too deep haha. If you want to go though I hope you do find a way (and continue to post here with stories from your new adventure! I would love to hear what it's like over there). 



Thumper's picture

Yikes, 1 1/2 to 2 years long tour. 

We had 12months at a time.  Mid tour R n R. 

You know the deal, you push through. But THIS is different.

IF you were to go, in addition to the older kids involved,  there is the consideration of aging or ill parents back home. Who comes back in an emergency, everyone? You?

THEN there is the flip side is, what a thrill it would be for the kids, and you, to see, live and travel to this part of the world.  That is very exciting. 

OR DH goes, bye Darling...see you in  9 or 10 months when you fly home for R and R.


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justmakingthebest's picture

The parents back here is an issue, especially with my mom. I'm not sure that we would come back for an emergency with our parents. We both have siblings that are local to our parents that we would just have to trust that they keep us in the loop. 

There wouldn't even be an R & R for this one because it isn't going to be considered a full unaccompanied tour. So it will all be on our dime to see DH one way or another. Of course if we don't go it will be us putting out 10K to fly all of us to Japan, because it's a once in a lifetime experience that we would want the kids to have. It's just all insane. 

SeeYouNever's picture

We are 2 years into a 3 year geobach tour, though my DH is stationed a few hrs away and comes home just about every weekend. We have two little kids and at times it is tough. I had a baby without him there and she's almost 2 now.

First he needs to answer his questions. But I would lean on the not going side so the kids have stability. If you go that route I would plan for him to visit home at least 2 or 3 times a year and for you all to visit once a year maybe meeting in hawaii, and maybe a visit for just you as well. But man that would cost some major money.

As for the day to day we all eat dinner together though during the week my DH joins via facetime. We call him on the drive home from daycare (just a few minutes) and he and I talk on the phone just about every night. It's important to have these routines and set times when you know you will connect.

I know of someone that did this with his family in the states and he was in Guam. Ugh. My DH can retire after this tour and I can't wait.

justmakingthebest's picture

I think that situation would be different too. For this, we will be in literal opposite time zones and schedules, flights are over 2k to fly back and forth. He will have to live on the ship and I will be here for all the day to day stuff in maintaining a large 5 bedroom house. It is just going to be hard. 

I wish I could say that the kids will help but they are teenagers and it isn't their job to take over as "man of the house". They are allowed to have their fun and freedom. 

It is just going to be hard no matter what happens. 

CLove's picture

Wow, thats a huge move with so much uncertainty. Thank you for both your service but you especially...

notarelative's picture

I have no idea what I'd do. Some things that I thought of:

If you wanted to go, would your ex object? Even if the kids wanted to go, could he force them to stay?

Is his tour there the same length if you go? My nephew had an overseas tour that the length was longer if his family went. (They chose the shorter no family tour.)

SS20 has to be a major factor as he is not ready to launch. This is DH's to grapple with and figure out. 


justmakingthebest's picture

I'm not sure about my ex. His wife has not been impressed with our daughter as of late and there is tension building over there. 

He has moved all over for his military career and we have always come to fair terms giving him the most amount of time possible. Currently he is 3 hours away in another state, so I'm not sure if he would fight it or not. It would be different if he was local, of course, but he sees them 1 weekend a month and long holiday's. It would probably be me giving up all of winter break and the 2 weeks in the summer I usually get with DD at worst. 

I really don't think his wife wants DD there. DS will be in college... They might not really fight me at all and just want her to fly out 2x a year and leave it at that. 

As for SS23, that is the biggest issue. I just don't know and neither does DH. I need to reach out to our family coordinator to see if he would be allowed to come with us. Then discuss with SS, DH and I our options.


The_Upgrade's picture

Aside from not wanting to uproot the kids from the familiar, there's also the culture shock to factor in. Normally with young kids I'd say the more exposure the better. I had NZ friends who took their three kids to South America for a year. A great all round experience. But how will SS cope living in an area with limited English? He already needs support as he is and he can't spend the next two years completely housebound. And you can't be expected to hold his hand and do absolutely everything for him every time he set foot out of the house. And will your DD need medical services for the next two years? How will the move affect her mentally and physically? Heck, if you only had DS to worry about it'd be a no brainer but there's so many balls up in the air and you're the only one juggling them.  

justmakingthebest's picture

DH is doing his best and is completely supportive. Big Navy... not so much! There are just too many unknowns!

justmakingthebest's picture

I mean, who knows! We are hoping that it will be resolved and settled this year but there are no answers yet. SS18 isn't a factor, he won't visit, he is an adult, it is what it is. He graduates in May- we are trying to do whatever it takes to have it settled before DH leaves. 

TheAccidentalSM's picture

you've probably made your decision but if you are still thinking it through, I'd vote for staying put to get SS23 properly settled.  It sounds like you have worked really hard to get him a great opportunity and all that work will be gone if you up root him to Japan.

If it wasn't for him, I'd say go.  It would be a great experience.