I think our daughter must’ve been 4 months when my husband gave me my first glimpse of Civvy Street. Like so many others, he went on tour when she was a baby and it broke his heart to leave her at such a young age. She came at the right time, born just before leave, so he was able to spend a long while with her, noticing the wee changes that can go un noticed if you’re out working all the time. He found it really hard to leave her at 3 months to go on tour. One month into the tour, he phoned me to tell me he was signing off and that I should look into getting on the Council list sooner rather than later so that we don’t end up homeless.
I don’t know what happened on the tour but by the end of it, he’d changed his mind and decided to stay in for a wee bit longer, just till his 12 year point – “It would be silly to leave before” I was gutted! I knew it wouldn’t be easy in Civvy Street, we wouldn’t have the security of the regular income, and I would likely have to go out to work instead of staying at home with our baby, but I knew we could make it work and money wasn’t everything.
Well, his 12 year point came and went I was none the wiser, at 15 years, I asked him when his 12 year point was. Not too bright am I, but when you think of time as in postings and not as years, it’s easy to overlook. I can tell you the year of our first posting because that was the year we were married, and the second posting our daughter was born, the third was another birth and so on, but I couldn’t give you a year and say where we were posted.
I really was going to have to wait quite some time for Civvy Street. The glimpse I had was fading fast but seeing as time was going by so quickly, surely we’d be in Civvy Street soon, living a life where we knew for definite that we could go to a family wedding as a couple and not just me on my own.
As the 22 year mark approached and I began to think about wallpaper, curtains, lighting etc Civvy Street once again was taken from me by my husband being given VEng. We do now have our own house that we bought just last year. I have the wallpaper and the lighting, the curtains and the kitchen. I should really be pleased to have all this but it’s not how I imagined it. I imagined us both to be living in our house together. It was something we were meant to share.
We’ve gone the married unaccompanied route. Would be fab to have him posted near so that he could come home at nights but that’s not going to happen and now, to top it all off, he’s come off the Board and if he takes the promotion, then that means another year or so on top of VEng before he’s out. I may have misheard the numbers but when you keep getting glimpses of a life you could have, only to have it stay like that, a glimpse, you try not to focus on the numbers as it could, if you let it, really upset you.
So now I have Civvy Street, just 3ish years away, my thoughts aren’t filled with excitement about what we’re going to do to the house and how we’re going to spend our time together, it’s how will my husband manage being in Civvy Street after such a long time in the Army.