My opinions change often with the option of whether to live in an Army house (pad) near my husbands base. It was never an issue before H & I got married, because it wasn't an option, and I had firm beliefs that it was a no-go option and I would never move.
I do however find it hard at times when I talk to the one friend I do have that lives in a pad. She talks about coffee mornings, and has the option to go on little trips provided by the battalion. I get nothing, I often wonder if the Welsh Guards even know I exist!
I often feel very alone living at home in Wales. The three girls I do talk to are now ex-army partners as their husbands/boyfriends have left the army following the battalions last deployment. I've started getting closer to one of the army girlfriends, but now her partner is leaving the army just before the battalions next tour.
The anticipation of H leaving for Afghanistan again is horrible, never mind the thought that this time I will be alone with no-one around me who actually truly understands. Sure I have my friends and my family, but will they be hurting when I'm hurting, will they understand the hurt? And then there are those moments when I have to bite my lip whilst I listen to them tell me that they know what I'm going through because they're husbands/boyfriends go away on holidays for a week and tell me how hard it is for them. All I hear is "blah blah blah". I have to hold back from screaming "ATLEAST YOU KNOW HE'S NOT GETTING SHOT AT". They compare the fact that they may die on the journey over on the plane. What? So H doesn't also go on a plane to get to AFGHANISTAN where he is also a target to be killed?! ARGH! I just smile and nod.
At least with fellow army wives I can say "I'm sorry, I'm not in the mood to be around company" and they will understand and not get offended. A lot of my friends no longer call or text me to see if I want to go out, or even to see if I want a coffee. They are the friends that don't understand and never will. I suppose I'm a little grateful for their lack of interest in our friendship, why do I want people like that in my life?
I am very blessed to have found life-long friendships in my church family. I can be myself with them and none of them judge me. They pop over just to see if I'm ok, and if I need any help. They sit and pray with me, they watch me cry, they watch my laugh. They may not understand what I'm going through, but they know how to make me feel that little bit better, especially when they come over with cake!
My family are ok at understanding, but they have their own lives to deal with. Having become an only child at the age of 14 I know that my mum is always there no matter what. She cooks for me when I'm low to ensure I eat, she takes the children out when I need a break, and every Monday she takes J to his karate lesson because I can't as T is in bed. But even to my mum I can put on a front, and smile when I'm dying inside. This is because I don't want to hurt her by seeing me cry. I know that sounds silly, but that's the way my mind works sometimes.
During H's last tour my good friend A was still an army wife. We often met up for lunch or dinner. We were both pregnant, so neither of us wanted to go to the pub and forget our situations. We would just waddle around! It was nice. This time around I will not have my fellow waddler, her husband is now working on civvy street. Yes she can relate and relive her experiences, but this tour will be a different experience to last, can I take her opinion as comforting? Time will see.
One reason it took me so long to up and leave J's father was due to loneliness. And then I started this life, a life full of loneliness. Fortunately it is also a life of pride. Had this life been with a "regular" guy I would've booted him out by now. Never home, out with the boys during the week, only seeing his children at weekends. I may have chosen to date a soldier, but it was a matter of weeks before I fell in love with him, it was not a conscious decision to live this life, it was a decision made by my heart.
My reason for not wanting to move into a pad is because I cannot bare the thought of moving my children from school to school everytime the battalion move. They will have no "proper" friends, and to me that way of life is not stable enough for a child. In those moments when I'm trying to persuade myself that it will be a fun life for the children I then remember where my husband is currently based. The surrounding area to my husbands camp is 100% not suitable for a woman who is often left on her own, never mind bringing up children there.
I live in hope that one day the army will recognise me as my husbands wife, and will involve me so I no longer feel on the outside of the circle. Army life is definitely a bubble.