On being a military wife…
I never set out to be a military wife. I guess that few of us do. I never think of it as anything out of the ordinary, although I do understand that our lives do follow a slightly different rhythm and beat than they would if my husband were a civilian.
Let me start by saying that my husband was in the NZDF when we met and I always took on the understanding of what that meant for our relationship with all the separations and instability that would come along with it. I very seriously considered what that would mean in my life if our relationship progressed and, once I decided that it was a way of life I could live with, I made a decision to make it as easy for my husband as I could.
Part of that decision has meant the understanding that my career will always be secondary to his. His career has meant that we’ve had to move towns several times (sometimes at very inconvenient times), it’s meant that he’s missed birthdays and anniversaries, it’s meant that he’s been away for significant stretches a time to some undesirable places where the means of communication are often sketchy at best, non-existent at worst. It’s meant that I’ve learnt to be flexible and resilient, and have taught my children to be the same. It’s meant that I’ve spent years watching the news trying to work out where he’ll be sent next.
Here’s what else it means – it means a community. It’s a community much like other small communities in that it has good points and bad. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that most of my experiences have been good, and I think that most of that is due to making a decision not to be drawn into some of the pettiness that is bound to go on when you get any small community build on a foundation of structure, stress and camaraderie. I know absolutely that if we were to get into a tight spot of any description, that community would be behind my family 100%, and that certainty of support is something rare and special.
Yes, it can be difficult when he goes away (and sometimes adjusting to having him home too). Yes, I can get frustrated at the way that the children only seem to get sick when he’s away. Yes, of course I miss him when he’s away. Yes, I am incredibly proud of my husband and what he does, and in a country where the defence force is chronically under-appreciated, I appreciate the sacrifices (big and small) that he, and all with whom he serves, make on a regular basis. x