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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Life as a writer and an Army wife

I have been asked to write a blog on life as a military wife.

Well I am not just a military wife but a military mum.

My husband is currently serving in his 24th year of service and my son is in his 8th year. The feelings they both evoke are like chalk and cheese but the ultimate one is always of worry.

My son is in the Royal Navy of which he enjoys his time away, I tend not to worry too much as long as I know he is OK mentally and physically but most of all safe. As a mum I have only asked and tried to support my children to be safe and happy. I know realistically this is not possible at all times, they both ride motorbikes and both have had accidents. They have both experienced heartbreak but I would like to think I am here for them both no matter what life throw at them to give them the strength to fight back (metaphorically of course). No I do not worry too much about my son and his choice of career unless I do not hear from him, so I guess the key to that is communication. Can be a tricky one sons don't always want to ring home as much as Mum's would like. I tend to worry more when he is at home than away, maybe it is what I don't see I don't worry about.

My husband on the other hand has one of those dangerous jobs even when he is floating a desk as they say. he is my all action hero and loves to be busy. Although we miss each other terribly when he is deployed, i know he is really in his element as it is what he is trained for. He is known as Mr Safety in a very dangerous environment, I feel comforted he will not take unnecessary risks but will get the job done. Many soldiers both above and below in rank have learned much from his experience.

I have told him repeatedly I do not want more medals but for him to come home safe and so far, we have kept to that deal.

How do I cope with the separation whilst he is on deployment, communication, communication. I can't stress that enough, we are very fortunate that now we have wifi spots in theatre, we also have a brilliant system called ebluey's. What is an ebluey, well I can type an email via the site before I go to bed and I generally know by the time I wake up in the morning. My husband has had my email printed and sealed as a letter and delivered to him and most certainly read by him. That gives me as a wife and in particular an army wife, a feeling that is hard to express even as a writer.

Phone call are secondary as although fantastic to hear each others voice it is not something you can rely on, as you can imagine their are thousands of troops wanting to ring home and never enough lines free. The worst feeling is missing a call and waiting for the next one.

I said before communication is the key to coping as is trust and the patience to school yourself that if you do not hear from your loved one, you have to teach yourself the mantra, "No News is Good News" I will confess I am not always the best at this but I have to believe it as do all other wives, girlfriends, Mum's, boyfriends, husbands, sisters and brothers.  Sadly we have lost friends, too many friends, and they are sorely missed but the system works if the worst were to happen, you are notified as quickly as humanly possible with today's super fast technology to assist.

So although being a military wife and mum is not the easiest position in the world, it is one I do with pride and as much love and support I can muster.

As a writer it does not matter the odd hours we sometimes keep, or if we move from place to place ( we have had 3 address in the last six years).I can write anywhere but I do need peace and quiet!!

Maybe another key is being flexible, as most military families can concur it is easy to be caught up in the big machine of service life.  I see it as not a career choice after all its not mine, I did not choose a military life, I choose my husband. I believe it is not a career choice but a way of life. It can be a rich and rewarding life with the many friends we have made along the way.

It is a journey, one where we have laughed, cried, toasted friends in too much port lost but never forgotten.
We are now planning our life, post the Army, for me that will still be supporting my husband in his new adventures and probably writing about it along the way.

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