As we said goodbye to yet another family this week, it made me wonder how many times the girls will do this over the years. It’s not us leaving this time, but my eldest daughter is now on her 3rdhouse, 4thnursery and 2ndcountry. Although she may not remember most of them, she does know that she was born in Bristol, has lived in Germany and that the house we live in now is (in her words) borrowed. I think that sums up army life. Not only do we borrow our house, but we also borrow a family.
Of course we have our own permanent family dotted around the country, but for the 2 years of a posting our friends, in that area, become our family. A key skill is the ability to make good friends quickly. Ones that you can depend on to look after your children at a moment’s notice, borrow random assortment of tools or just drink wine and moan about the grotty carpets or the fact that your husband is away over a birthday again! They do the things that your family would do if they were living round the corner; however you might have only known them for just 3 months.
I know other people move away from their families, but most people don’t then keep on moving and so the support you get from your borrowed family is even more special, because it could only be for those 2 years. There are some friends you take with you, some you bump into again on another posting and pick up where you left off, but some you may not ever see again. For that short period they are there for you. Always prepared to offer help wherever they can, knowing we would do the same in return. It’s an unusual trust that probably stems from a common background but mainly necessity and, without it, life would be that little bit harder and a lot less fun for all of ‘us’.
So although my girls only have 4 real cousins, I’ve lost count of how many military cousins they now have, but it’s not really goodbye, it’s just until the next time.