Sunday, 26 February 2012

Friend, chum, cohort, ally, buddy, mate....

During my childhood, I never thought I would be a person who would have a multitude of friends.  I was shy in school (which made me an easy target for bullies), and I spent my weekends horse riding and not being social.  So it's funny to now look at my life, and to see how blessed I truly am.  I have made friends from all walks of life, and they came into my life in each walking a different path.  I have a few friends from school, my fellow crazy cat ladies, old uni and work friends, friends from my daughters' school, old neighbours.... the list goes on.  Each and every one of them has touched my life and if you're reading this, then thank you for being you and I love you!

However the purpose of me writing this, is to focus on one special group of friends.  My fellow defence wives.

Yesterday the PP, Mr J and I ventured out to the Defence Family Day.  It's a huge event that is free to all defence personnel, and we enjoyed ourselves with endless hot dogs, fairy floss, popcorn, slushies, rides, and sunshine!  However it was while I was sitting in the shade, listening to some friends talking and just soaking my surroundings in, that I felt the need to write all this down.  I was looking at how many people were enjoying their day too, as they stopped to talk to someone they knew while their kids ran around screaming.  I noticed how many tents were set up, filled to the brim with information and freebies from different organisations, and it was all support for defence and their families.  I realised that we are a part of a very special community, and it is because of this community that I now share my life with people who are more special than they realise.

Mr J was in the US Navy when we met, but my first real taste of defence life and how different it is, is when we moved to Cerberus.  I had moved away from my family and friends, and was living in a strange place with three kids, one a newborn.  It was indescribably hard, and I have never felt so alone.  On our little patch of housing was a community cottage, and I summoned up the courage to venture down there.  I had heard talk of defence wives being nasty, riding on the coat tails of their husbands' rank, and basically being a pack of witches that feast on the souls of those lower down on the food chain.

My experiences thus far couldn't be further from the truth! Sure, you get some nasty or weird pieces of work but they exist throughout all of society.  For the most part I have only met gorgeous, kind and amazing ladies.  That first day at Cerberus, two beautiful individuals made me feel welcome and are still my friends today.  Through the playgroup I met two of my best friends, and I'm thrilled to be sharing a posting with them both again.  Cerberus yielded some wonderful friendships, and I love that I have friends Australia-wide.

It's fantastic to be a part of a community who looks out for one another.  We can vent, cry, celebrate and laugh over things that no one else understands.  We deal with people asking how on earth we can do it, living this kind of life.  We vent over the bad press the defence receives, while the good is forgotten.  We understand the pride that we feel when we see our men in uniform, whether they be marching in an ANZAC parade, or walking through the door after work.  We love the adventure, seeing Australia and making those precious friendships, and welcoming new babies as a part of the defence family.  Yes it can be hard, and oh so frustrating.  But us girls have each other's backs, our kids have many pseudo-aunts and siblings, and our partners can share a beer as well as the camaraderie that develops almost instantaneously.

There's a sense of belonging, we would do anything for each other and we're never alone.  As I spent the day with some of my friends yesterday, ran into people I know, and watched my girls run around with their buddies I decided we truly are lucky to belong to this world and if it wasn't for the navy I wouldn't share my life with such amazing people all around Australia.

Plus, we all love a man in uniform. ;)

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