My partner and I got together when we were 16. Once we had left school, he decided he wanted to join the navy as a submariner. We spent the first year doing long distance and almost broke up one too many times. To paint picture, imagine a newly 18-year-old with money he’s never had before and the freedom to party in Melbourne after months of being cooped up in recruit school. The worried girlfriend in another state.
A year later he was posted to Western Australia, and we packed up our home and off we went. We had a few struggles when we first arrived from dodgy house mates to getting used to living together again. We got through all of that, and now have our own home, are engaged and have a five-month-old daughter but none of it came easily thanks to the navy life.
We actually haven’t had a deployment yet, our first is this year and its six months, and for those of you who know a submariners life, you know there is next to no communication besides the 26 coded characters we are allowed to send once a week that they may or may not reply to.
The idea of being enlisted for five years and not yet having a deployment to some may sound blissful. But the reality is that we have been absolutely slammed with weekly running’s. They go away Monday to Friday with no contact and come back Friday afternoon and are home for the weekend, unless of course they have duty and must work a further 24 hours. We have done so many weekly running’s that I have lost count and the constant lack of contact takes a severe toll.
The stigma that surrounds these trips is that its great they come back on the weekends but for me personally I have always struggled with these. Although it’s wonderful to see them, we are forced to jam pack an entire week into two days, maybe one if we are lucky. My fiancé needs to catch up on sleep, I need to catch up on sleep because of the baby. We need to spend time with our daughter, so he gets quality time with her, and we don’t normally get a second to think about doing something together. I usually try to get out of the house baby free for a bit to get grocery’s done, we have friends to catch up with and gutters that need to be cleaned, heavy things to be lifted and lawns to be mowed.
We all struggle with different aspects of Navy Life, no matter how big or small, we are all in it together.