Onward.

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Happy New Year Rainbow Tree-ers! You may have noticed (or not!) we have been a little absent over the last two weeks. It was needed, to refill our tanks.

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Christmas and the time in between that and New Year has come and gone. It was one of real happiness and precious memories for the Rainbow Tree family. It was even more special this year as Daddy Big Feet was back from his deployment for his RnR. If you are deployed for 5 months or more you get a two week period to come back and see your family. By some small miracle his landed right over the Christmas holidays. Miracles do happen. 

Alas our time together is coming to an end and I feel that it is important to share the hard times as well as the good. I talk a lot about being strong during a deployment, especially for the Little Feet. It is equally important  to highlight that there are times when that strength ebbs away and impending storm clouds drift ever closer. The struggles before RnR I have touched on in previously posts, the period during RnR is what I will be talking about today and in time, the aftermath of a deployment.

An example of the struggles during this two week reunion can be the battle of allowing oneself to let your other half back into your unit. Being the person left at home, who runs the house, walks the dog, looks after the kids, cooks as well as works themselves, it can actually be very difficult to release those roles when their husband or wife return. I don’t mean this in a cruel way. For me it is the angst of trying not to get used to the help. Not to get too comfortable knowing it’ll be gone before you know it. Moving around a lot means most don’t have family close, so for most they do a deployment with not much help to speak of. If you are lucky you will have some solid neighbours that can help when it all gets too much.

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As I write this, Daddy Big Feet has one sleep left in our home until he has to go back on deployment. The run up period to the leaving again is very difficult. The spoken and unspoken strain becomes palpable and tensions begin to rise. However hard you try as the adults in the house to keep upbeat it is impossible for your Little Feet to not feel the heightened emotions. Whether you realise it or not. Little Feet A from about two days ago randomly began her own countdown until Daddy Big Feet leaves again. She recently asked him when he comes home again, ‘how many minutes he would be home for’. Heart wrenching stuff. We have had a really amazing week of adventure back at home after Christmas travels to family, but the last few days have been filled with Little Feet B’s tantrums and tears. With no apparent pain or illness, I would not be surprised if my mother’s instinct is correct. She has realised that Daddy is not here for much longer. We forget that she understands more than we realise. 

For the person who has to go back on deployment this can be a difficult time, especially if you have Little Feet. Little Feet can become limpets, needing to go everywhere their Big Feet go to reassure them. They may require Daddy Big Feet to put them to bed every night, get up with them every morning, just to have that extra time. During this time, the one going back on deployment’s mind will start to wander back into work mode and this can be testing for those at home who yearn for them to stay present for as long as possible. This has the potential to lead to arguments and in turn puts pressure on everyone to make the most of every.single.moment. Which as you can imagine is incredibly draining. For me, I am both introvert and extrovert, however if I am not able to have that introvert time of quiet I can become difficult to live with. With time being precious, it can make even myself needy, wanting to spend us much time together as a family. In process of denying myself my introvert time however, can make me irritable, snappy and anxious. Daddy Big Foot basically forced me out of the house yesterday to go have some me time which was needed. When my introvert levels are not being seen too I have found it generally surfaces with a sudden need to tidy and clean the house. Over time I have realised this is because it is the only control I have in my life sometimes.

Many forces wives, including myself have debated whether it would be easier if there wasn’t RnR. Off course, we would never actually exchange this time, we all know that. However, those left at home get into a routine and if you have children this two week period can be extremely difficult coming out on the other side. During RnR almost every day, both Little Feet make sure if Daddy is coming back if he pops the shop, walks the dog or even at times leaves the room. We would never trade this time, we have made some amazing memories and it is food for the soul to be able to reconnect our little pack. With those memories and times however comes an emotional price to pay.


For the first time since his return yesterday was the first day I began to feel the panic starting to bubble away in my sternum. As it bubbles away my mind begins a battle of wills. One side being helpless, hysterical woman that is not good enough to get through this by herself and the other that starts to completely shut down from any emotion, headstrong, determined to do everything by herself. This can lead to crying one moment and feeling no emotion the next. Today he disappeared upstairs saying it was time. I took this to mean that he was going to start packing. After about half an hour I go upstairs to see no lights on but the bathroom. I pop my head through the door to see him scrubbing the bathroom from top to bottom… because he knows I hate cleaning the bathroom. He wanted to do it before he left so I didn’t have to in the coming week. It was so unexpected and thoughtful it pushed me right over the edge and my eyeballs began to malfunction. Crying over a bathroom being cleaned, that’s the kind of madness of emotions I am talking about. 

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We have another 2.5 months to go of this deployment and I’m not going to lie, at this very moment that feels like a hell of a mountain to climb, especially in the bleak mid winter… Our Thankfulness Jar is half full and we continue to do that every Sunday. If you are a guest staying with us over a Sunday evening you are expected to participate.

So. I will give myself 48 hours of moping and expelling any tears that need to be spilt after he has left. But after that, I will continue to take one day at a time, one step in front of the other, holding both my girls up when they can’t hold themselves up and  I am sure before I know it we will be counting the days down until his return. For more then just many ‘minutes’ but hours, days, weeks and hopefully months. Until the next time that is!


Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings over the course of the last year. I have found it to be very cathartic. I hope it has been a space to enlighten those who forces life is a mystery and be a source of camaraderie to those who have been, are in, or will be in this season of life.

April, the month of the military child

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The charity, Little Troopers, was founded by an ex-army solider, Louise Fetigan. Her husband still serves and they have a teenage daughter. In a post this week she flagged up that the month of April is the international month of the military child. I had no idea this existed and felt like I should do a post about it, what with it being so central to our life. 

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I ummed and ahhed about writing this post, whether people would be interested in it, offended, or roll their eyes at it. In the end I just decided to do it anyway. It is close to our heart as a family and very much central to our lives. We live it and breathe it. We are a military family.

Both myself and Daddy Big Feet had grandparents that served in the military. Daddy Big Feet is part of the Royal Air Force and as part of his job, he goes away sporadically for short as well as long periods of time. We call those long periods in our house, 'Long work'. This was our way of explaining to Little Feet A when she was little that Daddy wouldn't be here for 'lots of sleeps'. 

As children, you have no control over what your parents do for work. And so, whatever your parents do, becomes the norm of your life. If your parents are shift workers then children will be used to their parents working any hour of the day and routines adjust accordingly. If you are a military child, you will likely move more times then you can count, have had to make friends with more people then you have to count and will loathe the question, 'Where are you from?'. 

There are different types of deployment, some of which are overseas, often in dangerous locations, sometimes for months or a year at a time; others are within the UK, and these can vary in time and location. Both are hard, and come with their own challenges. 

As well as long periods of time not seeing or being able to talk to parents, children will often experience not seeing their parents throughout the week, because they may have to work very long hours or shifts. Leaving the house before wake up and returning long after bedtime. Not all jobs are like this of course, but it is not uncommon. Equally, some jobs mean they are working almost every weekend too. Bank holidays are not a given, most of them they are just another working day.  Alternatively, some families choose to settle in a certain place and they military parent works away from home, weekly commuting every week to live at their parent unit.

In the space of 6 years we have moved to four houses and have had three new geographic postings. During my pregnancy with Little Feet A, Daddy Big Feet was away for 7 months. We found out we were pregnant 24 hours before he left. Apart from a two week RnR where I had sprouted a bump, he missed the whole thing. When Little Feet A was about 4 months old we moved and he started an extremely busy and high intensity job which continued over to Little Feet B's birth. 

It does not get said enough, families of the military are in service too. We go through everything with the serving person, we see the extreme highs and extreme lows. We wear the medals our spouses, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons receive as badges of pride. We make sacrifices and regularly have no say in where we go.

You become hardened to moving, you learn ways that help the process both emotionally and mentally. Our children become resilient, because the have to be. They have friends all over the country and world and have lived in more places than most children will live in their entire lifetimes.  And that's ok: they are stronger for it, have seen more for it, experienced more for it, and know vocabulary that others may not have encountered. They are part of an exclusive club that will welcome them with open arms.

This is the month of the military child. They don't ask or want sympathy or pity, that is not what we are striving for. We don't think they are better then any other child who isn't a military one because they aren't.

So what are we saying by celebrating them?

We are saying thank you to every child AND person who ever was a military child. 

We are saying we appreciate you.

We are saying we have your back.

We are saying thank you for serving.

We are saying you will bring something different with your life experience to the table.

We are saying you will be a leader of tomorrow.

We are saying that you will come with tolerance, an ability to adapt quickly, make friends with anyone and have a worldly maturity that not everyone has had the opportunity to learn at your age. 

And why are we saying this?

Because you are a military child and you are seen.

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