"You chose this life”.
“You knew what you were getting into”.
Comments you've probably heard many times before.
I know this is one remark that upsets Defence partners most.
FYI I had no idea what I was getting into!
I did NOT choose this life.
However I did CHOOSE to love sombody who chose this life.
I met my husband when I was 15. He was 19. He had already completed his trade and was working as a Carpenter. I was in high school.
At the time he was living with my sister and her then husband - whom Jimmy grew up with in central Queensland.
Very early on in our relationship, the big financial crisis happened. 2008. As a result nobody was building houses and that left Jimmy out of work for a while.
He obviously always had a desire to serve his country. We had a discussion oneday which Jimmy said he was going to apply for the Army.
My reply as a 16 year old was...
" I will not be an army wife and if you join I can't be with you anymore"
He ended up back on the tools and things were good!
We got married, then a few years down the track we had our son.
But that little desire didn't leave Jimmy.
I had just fallen pregnant with our 2nd child and Jimmy decided to start looking into joining the Defence Force again.
I still wasn't keen. But it was obviously important for him.
What I can tell you is this.
I CHOSE TO LOVE SOMEONE, WHO HAPPENED TO CHOOSE DEFENCE.
Because I love this person I CHOOSE to support this person.
Just because I chose to support him, didn't mean I knew what I was getting into.
I didn't know I'd literally pop out our daughter and a few weeks later he'd leave for recruits.
I knew nothing about this lifestyle. To this day I'm still figuring the whole Defence family/life thing out.
It's not easy. Its the hardest thing I've ever done. Endless weeks and months away, the deployment. The never ending adjusting.
NO I don't know what I got myself into, some days I still ask myself what the heck am I doing here!
This I do know.
I know that it takes someone extra extrodinary to love and support a Defence member.
To be the glue of the family, to be the hero's of the Homefront, and to adjust and accept things out of our control. To learn to go with the flow and accept the fact that at any given moment things can and will pop up unexpectedly.
To you, the partners and families, you are AMAZING! you are STRONG!
It's not always easy loving someone who isn't home that much. That's what makes you incredible. You can love someone who at any given moment has to leave, yet again.
I ended up being the wife I said I could never be. Although it's hard at times, I wouldn't change a thing now.
Next time somebody says you chose this life, reply with "I CHOOSE to simply love somebody”.