As April comes to close, I was thinking about the strength of the Military Child. I have 3 kids that I affectionately call the brats. In society that title has such a negative connotation…in my home my kids love it. They are amazing, but really what parent doesn’t say that about their children? In many ways I think that children of the Military are a unique genetic breed, it’s like they are brave when it seems to be time to cry, and they stand as strong as a 100 men.
We recently welcomed home our Sailor who had been away almost 9 months. While he was not serving overseas, he was far from home, and that in itself in my opinion makes it harder. He was just a skype or phone call away. I understand with most branches the ability to skype is common place, but in the Navy, we don’t usually get to skype while they are out to sea very much, if at all. Sometimes it’s easier when random phone calls and emails are the best communication you have, it was like we missed him more looking at his face. But I digress…back to the military brats I wanted to tell you about.
My brats had been anxious for homecoming day, it was the first for my sons BoyBrat1 and BoyBrat2 and the first for my BallerinaBrat to remember. For a good two or three months posters were made and talked about, “When daddy gets home” filled the walls of our home and posters were rolled up in closets. There was no way we could take them all pier side. My BoyBrats were excited to see daddy, but BallerinaBrat dissolved into tears when all the emotion hit her. She hadn’t shed a tear in months over daddy, but suddenly there they all were, her tears of joy.
Our military kids are the strongest kids on the planet in so many ways. There aren’t even words on how much I respect and honor my children for the strength they are for each other. There is something to be said with how much they connect with other military kids and thrive together through their difficulties. A favorite BallerinaBrat story I have shared was when she told me about telling her good friend whose dad was about to deploy (as we were about to welcome home our own daddy) that when her dad came back they could share him. That wasn’t the first time in the military kid world that I had heard that scenario. These kids are a unique breed.
A good friend of mine, Amanda, has been a great example of how to become a great adult, having grown up a military brat. She’s a huge part of our little family, and greatly loved. Here is a bit of her story:
“As a naval officer who grew up an enlisted (seal) brat, I can say that life was very hard being without two parents on a consistent basis, however those times proved to me that not only is my dad a warrior doing the right thing, but that my mom was an amazingly strong woman fighting her own war for our family. It taught me that whether I followed in dad’s footsteps and went into the military, or followed mom and became a strong woman and mother, in the civilian world, I would be a strong woman and could fight and survive anything in my way and I have! Without the support and sacrifices that my parents made, I would have never made it to or through the United States Naval Academy, through my first ship assignment, and now the medical discharge I’m facing! Regardless of all the ups and downs, military brats are survivors; it’s all we know how to do for certain when times get tough!”
So often as a mother I worry that I have chosen for my children a lifestyle that will bring them heartbreak and turmoil when childhood should be simple. At the same time I know that we are doing something right, these brats are pretty well adjusted and happy and most of all they thrive! I can’t take all the credit as a parent; it would be hard to do some of this without community. In the area I live in we are surrounded by a strong and vast military community. Where my brats attend school they have amazing programs through Fleet and Family and the Armed Services YMCA that help our kids through while helping them create their own community for support.
I sat my BallerinaBrat and BoyBrat1 for some Q & A: Keep in mind, BallerinaBrat is 8 and BoyBrat1 is 5.
What do you think of your daddy being in the military?
BallerinaBrat: I love it because he serves our country.
BoyBrat1: It’s cool that daddy has lunch on the ship.
Do you think all our moves have been hard or fun?
BallerinaBrat: Moving to Mississippi was hard, but all in all the moves have been fun.
BoyBrat1: It was fun moving; I liked riding in the big moving truck!
What is the hardest thing about being a military brat? What is fun about it?
BallerinaBrat: The hardest is that when you move, you lose your friends. It’s fun that we get to make new friends along the way.
BoyBrat1: It makes us stronger.
Are you happy daddy is back?
BallerinaBrat & BoyBrat1: YES!!!!
Today, hug your little brats tighter and thank them for being so awesome. These kids are our future, and this journey and the adventures in it makes them so much stronger. I know mine help me more than they will ever know survive this crazy, amazing, military life.
Fair Winds & Following Seas!