It is no secret that military men and women sacrifice a tremendous amount for our country and our freedom. Army, Navy, Air force, Marines, Coastguard, National Guard, all have a unique mission, but make sacrifices some cannot even fathom.
Their children however never even signed up for this life but make daily sacrifices as well and deserve to be recognized. April is Month of the Military Child! We proudly celebrate this month in our household because my children are military children. They have had to be resilient beyond their years at times and have risen to the occasion and overcome many challenges in their short life.
They have lived in three states in the past five years, gone a full year without their Dad at home, and just recently have been told they will be leaving Columbia and moving again this summer. They were not too happy about that and kept asking “Why?” The “Why” is because their Dad is in the military and unfortunately we have very little say in where we live; something that gets increasingly more challenging as kids get older.
My children made it very clear they love where we live. They love their school, friends, and neighborhood and they don’t want to move. Sadly it’s just part of military life and I would be lying if I said all of the upcoming changes didn’t keep me up at night. My kids don’t get to have that consistency other kids may have and that is very difficult. I moved around a lot growing up as well so I can relate to these big feelings. Having to start over in a new state is difficult at any age. The unknown can be scary. But if there’s one thing military children are—it is resilient!
They learn from a very young age that plans can change at any time and they have to make the best of an otherwise tough situation. When the military calls, their parent may leave for a few weeks, months, or even a year. So many feelings and emotions surround being a military family and I teach my children that it is healthy to talk about the struggles and to find others who can relate. Reaching out and finding other military children with similar experiences can be the biggest blessing in not feeling so alone on this journey.
There are of course so many positives to being a military child. For starters, my children get to live in many different places and see different parts of the country they otherwise would not even know existed. They have recently also learned about F16s up close and even sat in the cockpit during a special family day on base. This is a unique experience and one they will cherish for years to come.
As they get older my children are becoming more aware of the unique sacrifices their Dad makes and have great pride in what he does. They admire and look up to him and other men and women in uniform. He is their hero and I hope they grow up with a sense of pride and honor in being a military child. So this month and every month let’s celebrate the thousands of brave military children across the globe and the important role they play in our communities.