Those of you who follow my Facebook posts will have seen the small issue I had with a comment made on my blog last week. (You can find it HERE--scroll to the bottom and click on comments). The comment itself seems harmless enough, and perhaps the commenter, whoever he/she is, didn't fully read my blog post before stating his or her own opinion.
I believe all military spouses are entitled to their opinion and as such, this commenter is entitled to her (or his) own thoughts. I do thank her because she has spurred some lively discussion (and a huge outpouring of support...thank you everyone!) and has caused me to ask some interesting introspective questions.
"...if you aren't from the area (you aren't)...you probably shouldn't be making comments like this if you want to make friends"--Anonymous
Here's the deal. I grew up in small town New Brunswick. Graduated from high school at 16, and haven't lived in my home town since. Not counting inter-city moves on the same posting, I have lived in 16 different places in three different countries since that time. The longest I have lived in one home is three years.
So where am I from?
If I were to move back to my home town (where, incidentally, I still own property), would I feel at home? Would people there say I was from there? Or would they look at me and say I was a foreigner? The truth of the matter is, other than friends I've kept in touch with throughout the years, there are many who wouldn't recognize me. And the town, though the same in some ways, is different in others. I'm sure the wonderful people there still consider me a native, but is that what I think of as home?
Home is a fleeting thought for most military spouses.
It's even worse for military kids. My kids have been with us on all of those moves, so where do they say they are from? One of my children actually thinks of home as 'Grammie and Grampie's place'...where she has never lived.
In reality, we, as military spouses, have willingly given up our roots for the service of our country by choosing to follow our service members wherever they go. Very few military families end up living in their home towns. They live where they are sent, for short periods of time, and then they pack up and move again. As such we are 'from' where we live.
I'll repeat that.
I am from HERE.
I live here. I pay taxes here. My family is here. My furniture, my kids' schools, my job, my grocery store, my pharmacy, my dog, my cat...are all here. In an election, I would vote here.
My home is here.
So I am entitled to an opinion about here. As is every military spouse that lives in this town.
We are here because our spouses have chosen to wear a uniform and stand up for the beliefs that this country, this province and this town hold dear. In a crisis, our spouses would be the first to stand up for here. They would put their lives on the line for every last one of the residents of this place, regardless of where they were born. As would I. It is our civic responsibility--especially as parents--to take part in local educational debates. Our taxes support these schools and we have a right to be involved in their administration.
I even have friends here. Genuine people. Some of whom grew up right here. Do they agree with every one of my thoughts? I don't know. Probably not. But they are my friends because they like me because of who I am, not because they agree or disagree with my opinions. As far as I know, the best way to have a friend is to be one, and those who know me will be aware of my loyalty to my friends. If I were from somewhere else, why would it matter? True friendship has no borders.
Where am I from? Here. And I'm proud to say it.