A very old article – circa 2004 – No Life Like It

While my life has changed considerably since then, I still value what writing this signified for me at the time.

No Life Like It by Trish McCourt

I certainly can’t sum up the life of a military family in this short article, but I can touch on a few key details. My husband was a ‘civilian’ shop foreman/auto service technician for a busy dealership, and I was at home with our first daughter (previously an Early Childhood Educator / Administrator) when he joined the Canadian Forces. Knowing the challenges faced in both ‘worlds’, I can safely say there IS no life like it.

As the spouse of a military member I face all of the daily challenges of every other mom, with some unique factors throwing a wrench in things from time to time.

The most challenging situations also offer the most opportunity for growth. Our daughter has lived in four provinces before she was two and half years old. We have faced many ‘fresh starts’ only to move again shortly after. We have also had the opportunity to become great at meeting people and making friends!

They say that the only constant in a military family’s life is change. Making a career of serving one’s country is hardly a static one. On top of frequent postings there are courses, training exercises and deployments. These can be planned well in advance, or happen at the drop of a hat.

Depending on the military member’s occupation in the Canadian Forces – Army, Navy or Air Force, and where you are currently posted, training could take you to the field practically in your backyard (if you live in military housing on base) overnight in tents for weeks at a time, or to the other side of the country for months on end.

Just when your family gets used to having your soldier at home, he/she could be whisked off on an operation for up to (but not limited to) six months. There is a certain amount of independence that a military spouse grows adept at, however these times can be very lonely as well as challenging.

Children are often very resilient, but periodic or constant absences of one or both parents don’t go unnoticed. Our oldest daughter is generally a happy, easy-going three-year-old. Since her daddy’s deployment to Haiti nearly three weeks ago, we have experienced regression – from frequent potty training accidents, to baby talk and wanting her 10-month-old sister’s highchair, and sudden dependence on mommy. She has already learned so much! She understands that daddy loves her still, even across all those miles, she can find Haiti on the globe in split seconds, and has come to realize that her whole world doesn’t turn upside-down in his absence – as a matter of fact, it just keeps right on rolling!

Our daughter beams with pride and is very happy to tell anyone that her daddy is in Haiti and ‘he’s helping the people stop fighting’. This afternoon as we drove by the main gate of CFB Gagetown, she told me ‘I saw a tank mommy! When I get older I am going in one with my daddy!’

And while I have learned from experience how absence DOES make the heart grow fonder, I would gladly not be in his absence another day.

Upon his return we face yet another challenge, that of re-integrating back into one another’s lives… and just when life begins to feel ‘normal’, duty will call, and we’ll be thrown another curve ball.

I will not hesitate to support my soldier in a cause that he feels so passionately for! We are a military family and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Trish McCourt

Canadian Forces Army Wife

About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two

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