If you asked me the most defining force in my life, I would honestly say being military. I’m not serving myself, but I am by association. My older brother and I wouldn’t be here without it if our parents hadn’t met on course, in Cornwallis, all those years ago. Being a “base brat”, even one that has never lived on a base, is different for each kid having to live with it. The extra bit of tension it creates in my family has been different at various stages in my life, in direct correlation with Dad’s work. The pros and cons of it are numerous but, I believe, balanced. My life wouldn’t have been what it has without it.
I like to say Winnipeg is my hometown, even though Pembroke is where I was born. Barrie is where I spent the latter part of my childhood and Trenton is where I live now. Moving is an overall pro for me. My mom exited the force before my brother was born, so we haven’t had the conflict of postings like some families do, and luckily, with my dad’s trade, we haven’t been moved as frequently as others. Above the stress of selling a house and actually moving, personally, I like having a change of scenery once in a while. I love meeting new people and experiencing as many unfamiliar things as possible. I’ve had to leave friends behind in moves, but I find I keep in touch with the ones that are really worth it. Meeting so many people has made me a better judge of character, more outgoing and lets me really decided who and what I want to be, separate from the swirl of people around me.
Having extraordinary experiences is a source of pride for me. Every city offers its own qualities and experiences, exclusive to it. From the tight-knit house league hockey family I was absorbed into as a little sister in Winnipeg, to the co-ed basketball team on base Borden and the rugby hub of Ontario in Trenton, I have a mix of incredible memories. Moving like we have, drives me to find more things to see and experience. I’ve tasted a bit of this world, but I more.
We’ve travelled all over Canada, sometimes camping, sometimes just visits to whomever. We’ve been in the US, and Mexico and across the pond to England and France. I’ve travelled without my family with air cadets, in Ontario and the U.S.A. and I’m going to Europe with school in 2015. The only boring people I’ve met have never left the area they were born in. Stationary is not what I want to be, the military made me that way, and it never lets me stay for long.
With the time my dad has spent away from us while on tours, courses, exercises and training, we have learned to manage. The worry of my dad in harm’s way can be overwhelming at times, but phone calls and Skype make it more bearable. My dad has missed his fair share of holidays and birthdays on deployment, but nothing is better than tearing into a box sent half way across the world knowing that inside there’s things that have been specially picked and written with only me in mind. The absence really does make the heart grow fonder. The time away makes the reunion at the airport, train station or even at the front doors so much sweeter and bubbling with love. The instant, release of pent-up love is like nothing else on the planet.
The people around me in the places I’ve lived sometimes don’t know much about military life, let alone military family life, but I know I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The challenges make us stronger. Our family couldn’t have been without. I stand, with the rest of my family, behind the man that stands for our country. I hope to do the same one day, with the same positive support system behind me. The military defines us and we define Canada’s military.