April is “The Month of the Military Child” so for this whole month I’m celebrating mine! I’ll be posting our celebrations, but I’d love to hear how you celebrate your military kids, too! Post your ideas in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I love my kids. I want to strangle them sometimes, but I love them to pieces. And I’m proud of my kids. Being a Navy brat isn’t always easy, but they do it with style!
In their short lives my kids have moved from Georgia to Florida to Georgia, up the East Coast to Connecticut in the middle of winter, and 3500 miles cross-country to Washington in a crazy two-car caravan with a sausage dog, a thousand pounds of personal property, and a mom learning to deal with her own version of car sickness for the very first time. My oldest has been to four schools (not counting preschools and daycare). My middle has had to say good-bye to more friends than I have ever had, and when the baby was only 6 months old she sat in a car seat for hours on end every day for two weeks for a PCS move.
My kids keep Facebook pages to keep up with friends and family the world over. They have shared birthdays with grandparents via Skype. They have missed having Daddy home for as many holidays as they’ve spent with him (Alli’s birthday total is 1 with, 1 without … #3 remains to be seen). They have celebrated more December 27th or 21st Christmas Days than I can count, and having any family other than Mom attend a swim practice, choir concert, or dance recital is like hitting the jackpot for them because it just doesn’t happen that often.
But it isn’t all bad.
My kids are fairly well-traveled. They have seen East Coast sunrises and West Coast sunsets and at least dabbled toes in two oceans. They have seen many of the wonders of our country, like Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rushmore. They’ve rocked the best cities in the USA, from Orlando to New York City and from Boston to Seattle. They have had mini-vacations in Times Square and spent afternoons in art-filled forests in Washington. My kids trick-or-treated in the Mall of America! They’ve seen dinosaur bones in Montana, ate pizza in a pre-Katrina New Orleans mall (they were little; jambalaya was NOT happening!), and lazed away afternoons on the Jersey Shore long before Snookie and the Situation made it famous. Not bad for three kids ages 14, 12, and 2, right?
Plus my kids have friends EVERYWHERE!!! We keep in touch with families from Coast to Coast and everywhere in between, and we have friends as far as Hawaii, Guam, and Japan. In a super awesome Girl Scout meeting many years ago, ten little Brownie girls and two leaders mapped out where we were all born and where we had all lived. Five countries and lots of U.S. states were represented. I could kick myself for not keeping that map, and I wish I could now follow up where where they all are now!
Most importantly my kids have a deep and personal respect for our country and for our military … because they live it everyday. They know first hand the sacrifices made for their freedoms … because they are making a few of them. They have experienced colors in the evening on base and the beauty of the whole world stopping while our nation’s flag is ceremoniously lowered. They have shivered atop a submarine on a cold dreary day while their dad pledged four more years of his life, our lives, to the Navy, and they’ve stood quietly on land watching that stupid submarine drift off to sea with daddy in it for a month or two or three.
I’ve heard people say, “It must be so hard being a military kid.” It is, but it’s also awesome. I’ve read that military kids are all spoiled brats. You say spoiled? I say you try watching your child cry as daddy leaves AGAIN and not give in here and there. I even heard once that “military kids have such instability that they don’t grow as well as kids who don’t move around.” Tell that my oldest who is taller than me.
I’ve heard all kinds of things, both good and bad, about military kids, but I’ll tell you what I know. My Navy brats are beautiful and smart, strong and respectful, and awesome. They are also frustrating and stress-inducing and often-times grounded. In short they are just like any other kid … with maybe just a dash of red, white, and blue amazing on top!
Yesterday I posted some of my favorite pictures of my Navy Brats in some of our favorite travel memories to my Flickr account! Click the “More Photos” link in the sidebar to check them out!