Part of AFF’s work this year is to focus on service youngsters – their voice and views of army family life. Nine-year-old Ruby Callaby has moved schools a lot over the last seven years, is passionate about creative writing and has shared her story with Army&You

MY DAD is in the army, so it’s tough how I always have to move.

My first ever school was Talavera Infant School and I was excited. I had butterflies in my stomach; I tried to enjoy my first day. I made my first ever friend called Lela. I was lucky to have someone like her. She made bracelets for us. I still have it, but it fits my baby sister now.

We used to play queens and maids – looking back I feel harsh now because she was always the maid and I was always the queen. I sat on a big wooden chair and I would declare in a posh voice “go get me some chocolate cake”. “Yes, your queen,” she would reply. 

Just as I was about to go into year two, my parents told me I was moving to a school called Weeton Primary – and the pain started all over again. I was sobbing in my room and didn’t want anything more to do with moving. I thought it was the last time I was going to move but it wasn’t.

We arrived, and it was massive, there were metal fences all around the camp and army men standing at the front. My dad had to get a special pass, so they knew we weren’t people who wanted to hurt other people. We finally got past the gates to the house. My mum was in a bit of a grump because the house wasn’t clean.

Our nan came over to the new house. Me, my sister and brother had no idea what was going on but when dad explained it to us, we got an idea. Our nan took us to their house, it was about four hours away. We stayed for one day while our mum and dad put all the furniture in and cleaned everywhere. In the morning, we had time to have a swim in their hot tub and there was no stopping me – I love their watery bowl of hot water. We went back to our new house and I fell in love with the new look. I must have stepped into a whole new paradise. The downside was that I still shared a room with my little sister when I really wanted a room by myself.

It was like I had a butterfly-itis whenever I joined a new school. I started having a funny feeling. We could walk there. School only started at nine o’clock, more sleep for me.

After the weeks went by, we were sat round the dinner table and mum randomly said: “I’m pregnant with a baby brother or sister.” “What?” I shouted across the table. It suddenly got quiet.

We were on our way to the hospital for the scan to see if the baby was a boy or a girl. My dad wanted to call her Connie, but I refused and wanted the baby to be called Olivia.

Fast forward two years and another move. Now we are at The Avenue School in Warminster and life is good. My best friend Megan from Weeton calls me every day. I still have little meltdowns, but in the bathroom so no one can see.

Apart from that, life is great.

PS: Olivia is a cheeky little monkey!

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