A Very Unusual Posting…
Sometimes being in the services has its drawbacks.
Like yesterday when I realised that because of my Girlfriends posting my life is going to change also.
You see, if you didn’t know she is also in the military, and in June is posted and having to move from Birmingham to Aldershot.
Which is a real bugger. Ok, it’s slightly closer to me at Benson, but her being based here in the midlands has been ideal for me.
The two kids from my previous marriage live in Uttoxeter, only about an hour away from her house, and of course my football team – Nottingham Forest – a similar distance away. And as my older kids also follow Forest – being season ticket holders too, alternate Saturdays when Forest play at home have followed a similar and nice pattern – I head to Uttoxeter – pick them up. We have a wander round Nottingham for an hour or so and have some lunch. Then to watch the game and drive back to Uttoxeter for some tea and to drop them off.
It’s nice, it’s convenient and it makes sure I see them both and get to see Forest play, something I’ve done as a season ticket holder for the past 7 years. But most of all it ensured I kept on seeing them both regularly. Every so often they would come back to my girlfriends house to stop the night after the game, which was even nicer.
But all that is to change now. As I guess all things do eventually.
She is moving – through no choice of her own – and I don’t begrudge it – she’s promoted and posted, which means all the good to her career and the all important pension when she leaves the military too. Heaven knows that we will be fairly secure in the future with two military pensions coming in.
But it does mean that the cosy and easy life we had is all changed. With every posting that comes along everything changes. I’ve been posted many times myself, and I am fully aware how things change and evolve and how you have to stop doing some things – and start doing others.
However. This posting is different. I am not actually the one being posted. But it will have a huge effect on me. And that is unusual. But having thought about it a bit I am getting an insight into an aspect of service life that I hadn’t thought about before.
And that is how postings affect the life of wives, husbands and partners.
It must be – and is – a massive wrench for them to be forced to move along with their partner. They have lives built up around their partner, often jobs too, and once the notification of the posting comes through, all of a sudden their life has to change, all because of that move.
They have to move to another part of the country, away from the friends they have made, and keeping in touch becomes difficult. They have to start to think about building new friendships, and thinking about a new house they are going to live in (and often won’t see until they turn up outside it with all their furniture) and then have the stress of thinking about schools and childcare and all the other things that go along with a house move to a different region.
And they often do it over and over and over again. Every two-three years.
And mostly they do it with good grace.
So I will have to do the same. I will have to think of a way to ensure that I keep on seeing the older kids (who will be able to come down on the train) for better quality time for a whole weekend and not just a few hours at a time. I’ll have to think of something different to do on alternate Saturday afternoons. And I am sure I will be able to take in a game or two of the Mighty Reds next season – whatever league they will be playing in. It’ll make a trip to a game even more special when it isn’t every game.
And I can think about the opportunities her move south will bring. Closer to London (a place I love visiting – and would love to explore with ALL my kids), and closer for me to be able to get home maybe for a night in the week too, which would be lovely. It is just too far to commute there everyday, but it does mean I don’t have to face the M40 on a Friday and Monday as I do now.
This move will be good for her, and good for me too. We’ll make the best of it as we all do, but it certainly has made me think about postings in a much different way to how I have in the past. I thought that I understand how my ex-wife coped with moves. But now I have a better understanding of how it really feels to have to leave something behind through no choice or option of your own. Normally I would have my mind taken up with thoughts about my new job and where I’ll be working, but this time, my working life will stay the same. It’s just where I’ll call home will change. This time, I can see, feel and totally imagine how the families are effected by a posting.
How the wives, husbands, partners and children of service people cope with moves is truly amazing and is another example to me that the REAL heroes of the armed forces are not the ones who signed on the dotted line and wear the uniform, but are the ones who follow then around the country from posting to posting.