By Vicky Perry
Military life; some marry into it, some meet in the forces and some, like myself and my husband, decide to make the heroic leap together after almost 10 years of living the ‘normal’ civvy life. I use the term ‘normal’ loosely, as although 5 years ago our life was normal (for us), now we are a military family, and our life is very different, but still normal.
I met my husband when I was a fresh-face 18 year old embarking on a Journalism degree at the University of Lincoln. In fact, I’d only been in Lincoln for 2 days when we met, and his masculine Northern Irish accent had me captivated from the start. For a born and bred Southerner who’d never really been further North than the Watford Gap, living in a new city where I didn’t know anyone was extremely daunting but exciting at the same time; a lot like a new posting.
Over the next 8 years we dated, got engaged, bought our own house, got married and made the biggest decision of our lives; Dave, aged 30, wanted to join the Army. As someone who came from a military family, it was probably always his ambition, but he wanted to gain his own life experience first. After many discussions we made the decision together and our plan would be that he would do his basic and trade training and I would stay in our marital home, and we would visit each other when time and work allowed. I hated every minute he was away (and I still do now!) I don’t think we could ever be a military couple who would choose to be married unaccompanied.
On completion of his trade training, we received our first posting to the South East. This was close to my family so it seemed perfect, but we had built our own life including friends, our house and my job in Lincoln over the past 10 years; Lincoln was my home! It was a long 4 months after we moved before I started a new job, and in this time we also found out we were expecting our first child. Our daughter, Layla, was born in March 2013. Shortly after she arrived, Dave got deployed for the first time to Jordan for 2 months. I thought I would be used to him being away because of his training, but having a new-born baby made it a hundred times worse! Our next major hurdle came in December 2014; Dave was being deployed the week before Christmas for 6 months to the Falklands. The day he came home and told me the news my heart sank and I burst into tears. This was the worst 6 months of my life; it was so much harder than I ever imagined, not just for me but for Layla (who was 21 months). Our marriage now consisted of Skype, e-blueys and care packages. All I kept thinking was ‘why did I agree to the military life?’
5 months after his return, we had a very emotional few days in November (2015); I found out I was pregnant, and the following day Dave received a posting order. We knew a posting was imminent, but it still hit me hard. I had become so used to seeing my friends and family regularly over the past 4 years. This would be our first military move; our first march out inspection, our first time as a family in a brand new area.
We have been in Hampshire for 2 weeks now and are still coming to grips with the endless unpacking, making note of any house faults to be reported and Dave settling into his new job. I’m trying to make Layla feel as settled as possible and take her out to explore the area (the SatNav is my new best friend) whilst sorting out my antenatal care ready for our little man’s arrival in the summer.
At times I admit I do resent the military life, but Dave and I chose this path together and I have no regrets about it. As the saying goes, ‘home is where the Army sends us’.
I was invited to join the Evolution Forces Families team as their Online Content and Marketing Manager by Nadine, as a way to unite my new experiences of military life and rekindle my love of writing and all things marketing. I’m excited to be part of such an inspirational team.