homegrown mama

::Are we living in Nomad’s Land?::

In military life on 20112011-11-02T09:30:41+00:0030 9/11 at 09:30

What would it take for them to be content and even grateful…? 

I recently watched a Canadian documentary called Nomad’s Land. Written and directed by Air Force wife Claire Corriveau, the 2007 film (produced by the National Film Board of Canada, and available at nfb.ca) “powerfully depicts the hard existence of military wives.”

When I first read this description, I was taken aback; I wondered what experiences Corriveau had endured to lead her so far as to create a film to bring awareness to her plight. Personally, I became a little inwardly defensive about my life as a military spouse, and hoped that this film would do it justice, especially to civilian viewers.

The film’s synopsis on the webpage reads: “Meet an Air Force wife who discovers that she married into a lifestyle she hadn’t chosen…. Isolated, often lonely, forced to move repeatedly, these women have little control over their lives…. Their unsung contributions come at a high personal price.”

Part of me reads this and acknowledges the hardships that come along with military life: semi-frequent postings; difficulty holding jobs; being a “single spouse” while struggling to maintain our relationships during separation; and dealing with the emergencies that seem to pop up during deployments. But mostly I wonder just exactly what lifestyle would be ideal for these women. What would it take for them to be content and even grateful for the benefits and opportunities the military life provides?

Nomad’s Land includes interviews with Lucie Laliberté, co-author of No Life Like It: Military Wives in Canada. She explains a great deal of how far the rights of military spouses have come, and how hard the wives of some soldiers worked to make it so. Indeed, I am grateful to those who have advocated on my behalf. But is this a life with which we will always take issue? Or can we simply acknowledge how far the CF has come in recognizing the significance of the family unit to its members?

Certainly, the ups and downs of military life affect not only the CF member, but his/her family, as well. In fact, family members may even take the brunt of the changes, at times. But that’s life, isn’t it? No matter what profession your spouse chooses, there will be repercussions when his or her company reorganizes, downsizes, or moves locations. Granted, it may not be quite as life altering or dangerous as overseas combat, but we only know what we know, right? And for us, the reality is that orders, postings and dates can change at any moment, because there is an objective beyond our personal wellbeing at stake: our soldiers protect this country, first and foremost.

So while Nomad’s Land provided some noteworthy insights into the history of Canadian families in the Army, I confess that I have never felt slighted by this life or the concerns that come with it. It has been par for the course, in my mind, and I feel blessed to enjoy the lifestyle I currently have because of what the Army provides.

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