Another step on the route to Civvydom

Well, the preparations for moving on out to civvy street are picking up pace – I now only have a few weeks left of actual work before I start my resettlement leave, and using up what’s left of my annual leave. In fact as of today I now have 13 working days left, 13 more days of wearing the uniform, tying my hair up in a bun and being called “Sarge”. Whoa! Scary thought, that after more than 15 years I’m going to be just a name again, not a (service) number.

One of the biggest things that I need to get sorted out is moving in with my husband. We have the married quarter (military housing) where I’m based, so that when Mr Photog brings his boys up then they’ve got their own rooms, and then Mr Photog has his 1-bed “bachelor pad” near where he works in Somerset, but is nowhere near big enough for the 2 of us so we’ve had to finally find a place together! Removals booked, March-out (or “Move out” as it’s now known – more fluffy sounding I guess) booked, all ready to go, just the “fun” of packing the house up to go.

We’ve been together for 4 years, married for 2 of those and never actually lived together. Never. The longest we’ve spent together was 3 weeks in a motorhome driving around California. Other than that our lives have existed for the weekend, and the occasional week here and there when leave and work permits. In terms of many military relationships we’re very lucky as we only live 2 hours apart. Had I been posted up to Scotland it would have meant a massive challenge; hubby needs to stay south because of his job and boys, for at least the next 3 years, so we probably would only have ended up being together every few weeks.

Some couples get it even worse, and that’s even before we get on to the operational tours, and the 6 months separation that military families must endure. Those who aren’t married suffer too, as a boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t factored into the military admin calculations. A lass that worked with me, whose boyfriend is also serving, knows that it will take nothing short of a drafting miracle for her and her boyfriend to be “co-located”, i.e. based on the same unit, or at least units on the same side of the country. Whilst married couples can try and get it, non-married relationships have to sit and wait, and hope that it might happen. Sometimes it’s a wonder that relationships in the armed forces even get started, let alone last.

It amazes me when I hear of people getting all dramatic about hubby/wifey going away for a couple of days with work. You’d think the world had come to a standstill, and they’re unable to function without them! Ah, suck it up, buttercup! (as a former workmate of mine liked to say) And some couples make me laugh – when they see each other every day, then they go to work and spend all day on the phone to their other half – what the heck do they find to talk about?? Surely nothing that fascinating has happened in the hour since you said goodbye to them before work? One of my colleagues (who also lives apart from her man) and I have a theory: These couples don’t actually talk of an evening – they get home, have tea then sit and watch TV in silence, go to bed, barely exchanging a word, then get up, go to work – and then remember something that happened yesterday that they meant to tell their other half about, so get on the phone!

I’m still thankful every day that I met Mr Photog when I did – he came into my life at a time when I needed him and his wonderful support the most. And I’m so thankful that we work well together; I see couples out and about arguing, bickering whilst shopping in the supermarket; slagging their other half off when they’re not there, and it saddens me. I wish people would realise what they have and appreciate the person they have chosen to share their life with, especially if you are lucky enough to see that person every morning when you wake up, and tell them you love them last thing at night, and first thing in the morning. Some of us don’t have that luxury; we have to make do with a mobile phone and texts for pretty much 5 days out of 7. We don’t get to share a proper hug every morning – although we will do soon!!!! So excited!! Although when I first mentioned my redundancy to some of my civilian (married, female) counterparts and told them “I can go and live with my husband” they all said “what do you want to go and do a stupid thing like THAT for?”!!!!

Not long to go now though, roll on moving home for my final posting in the Royal Air Force – to the town that will now become my proper home-town J

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