My husband of soon to be thirty-five years in January, shared some sage advice passed on to him by a peer during the two month process of separating from military service. “Take up some hobbies – I mean, have you actually lived with your wife?” The well meaning mate does have a point. Ours has not been a conventional life or I suppose a typical marriage – if such a concept could be defined.
His service to country encompassed thirty-eight years consisting of an agonizingly high number of deployments of active duty and even more time away from home for training exercises, courses, conferences and an extraordinary number of operational command positions which necessitated long hours. Moving interstate and living in the Middle East and America meant many houses which became homes, interrupted schooling for our children and career gains and losses for me. It also shaped exhilarating adventures and opportunities, travel beyond what either of us could have imagined after saying, “I do” and the bitter sweet ebb and tide of wonderful friendships.
Like most families with a parent or possibly both in service, touch and go life does not only refer to time and place. We decided early on not to count the days apart but rather to focus on the times together. Though we know the number of postings, houses, schools and jobs we have little use for such raw statistics. We feel blessed to have not faced the adversity of other families and have always remembered to be deeply thankful. Life for families with a parent in the military is demanding, requires resilience and is absolutely not for everyone.
Our life after green, that is life after the army is a new season which is gently but surely unfolding. Those ‘old mates’ who are already out tell us – it takes a good three to four years to get settled. That is about a posting cycle, give or take. We shall see!
We are about to embark on a four week holiday. There have been very few actual holidays for my husband and I. In the early days economics dictated no travel. In the slightly later days a backseat full of small wonders ensured holidays were long – very long (think pre-technology) drives to see parents and siblings. Some postings were year long holidays (well, for the kids and I) and there were trips taken across the globe which crack our faces from smiling and laughter as we look back through the various medias available at the time.
Though, four weeks away on a holiday – just to go on holiday. Well, that may just test the actually living with wife or husband prophecy. There are a few brilliant folk to catch up with along the way – perhaps that will ensure that we are still willing to be allocated seats together on the way home.