When Will found out we were going to Turkey and that he would be assuming the ADC (Area Defense Council) position, he made a call to the guy he would be replacing to try to get some insights to what to expect. One of the first things the guy asked was if we had children, and being that at the time we did not and were not expecting Will told him no, to which he responded, “Good. Don’t!”
Will and I have wanted to live overseas for years. It was one of the biggest incentives for joining the military, because we knew that compared to the 0% possibility of his work taking us overseas in the private sector, at least through the JAG there would be a small chance it could happen. We live to travel. Even here in South Dakota we have made the long drives through snow and battering wind to do our best to get out and see the world around us. We would rather live in a quaint home and drive POS cars just so we can save to travel. To us, an overseas assignment would be an absolute dream come true because once you are over there, everything else is SO close, and SO cheap to get to. We had decided a long time ago we would wait to have children if we got an overseas assignment so we could live it up.
Not only is Turkey the sort of “great unknown” to us, since we’ve never been to that part of Europe, but as the ADC, Will will be traveling almost every other week to places like Germany, Italy, the UK and Al Udeid. I have to pay my way of course, but there is no reason that I can’t travel with him. In a way, this assignment, both location and the position, are absolutely perfect for us.
Except we have two dogs…and now we have a baby on the way.
As I was posing the question about dog sitters on the Incirlik Spouses Facebook page, it really hit me that we are really doing it all wrong. Here we are with the travel opportunity of a lifetime sitting in front of us, and what do we do? We insist on bringing our dogs, AND we get pregnant. What are we thinking??
This was Will’s #1 concern when we were making the decision to try for a baby. And now that that baby is a reality, the funny realization I’m having is that the baby, although obviously a definite travel challenge, is really nothing compared to trying to find care for our dogs while we are traveling to and fro. Not to mention, that I’m already feeling guilty at the thought of leaving them behind so often.
Currently I spend 90% of every day with our dogs. Unlike many people, they literally go everywhere with us. It was a major adjustment moving to South Dakota where all of a sudden we didn’t have family fighting over who got to take care of them while we took a weekend trip. But we weren’t about to let that obstacle stop us. They have probably stayed in more hotels than some people have. They love a good road trip, and the simple word “go” sparks the greatest joy for them you have ever seen. We do our absolute best to make sure they have active, engaging, love-filled lives. So the thought of them having to call a kennel facility (no matter how nice) a second home, breaks my heart. We have already decided that if we are traveling within Turkey, we would be driving so the dogs could come along, but much of our travel will probably be by air unfortunately.
I started writing this post hoping a solution would sort of work itself out as I wrote, but here I am at the end, still not feeling an answer. I know some people wouldn’t think twice about leaving their dogs, but to us they are family. All I know is that it is going to be a hard battle between taking advantage of this awesome opportunity, and making sure our dogs feel loved and included. I am thankful that it is only two years. Hopefully Jim and Jeannie won’t hate us for their less than ideal lifestyle for a short little time.