The dependants…

They call us dependants.  This official term for the spouses and children of a serving member is defined in the dictionary as someone who is reliant on someone else: this surely warrants exploring.  I guess to look at, I am small; perhaps even a little fragile-looking to some and then there’s Tina, not quite as short as me, but nonetheless we are officially dependants.

Back to Tina.  Here’s a woman who I hit it off with straight away.  What you see is what you get and then some more! Actually Tina is about the least-dependent, dependant I have ever had the privilege of meeting.  For a special birthday, she asked to be winched into the mediterranean; I am still not sure why…She recently drove a banger through parts of Europe for charity and because it would be a laugh.  And thinking about it, she probably sees more of her dog’s vet and certainly her children’s teachers, than she does her commuting husband.

I can’t boast quite the same adventurous-tales as Tina, but I was quite proud of moving countries by myself, heavily-pregnant and with a young child.  Of welcoming a lorry of possessions from Cyprus, a further lorry of long-forgotten possessions from three-years in storage and then unpacking the 60+ boxes I was surrounded by.  With a year-long weekend-only husband, I have had my share of coping with everything alone and also managed to keep a semblance of work going along the way.

“It’s like gaining an extra child,” another friend exclaimed when referring to her husband’s rare visits home.  Ever-stoical, she even appeared to take it all in her stride when a phone call from her husband was suddenly aborted with the sound of mortar.  He didn’t call back for several days….several days! When moving back to the UK, we were on the same flight, accompanied by her three boys (and no husband), and she then had a seven-hour-plus drive ahead of her to reach home.  Upon commenting on how amazing she was, she calmly told me that her husband had thanked her with a diamond necklace.  I expressed how lovely that was and still chuckle to this day when I recall her closing statement: “Oh, he doesn’t know yet!”

Living overseas, surrounded by dependants, all of whom had relocated countries, left their friends and families thousands of miles away and were totally ready for the next adventure – often with their husbands away for several months at a time – taught me one thing: we may be called dependants, but dependent, we are not!

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