April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are born into it. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life! They make life both harder and easier for us as they give us a distraction during deployments and TDYs, but also require us to go through stints of solo-parenting which is never easy.
So even though my little one is still much much to young to know what is going on around here, that she will have had more than one home before she even turns one. That before she starts kindergarten we will most likely have lived in 3 or more states. That due to the “needs of the Army” we spent the much better half of her first year living with Granna and Papa away from Daddy. A military child goes through so much more than will ever be none. But I want her to know I see her. So this is for her, so she can look back when she’s older and knows that I admire the strength she will grow up to have; that I believe in the resiliency she will develop.
To You My Military Child,
My little one, look how big and brave you are. As I sit here writing this you lay only feet away sleeping in a tiny dorm where we visit daddy in South Korea. I know you will never remember these days, one because you are tiny; and two because you spent the majority of the trip asleep in your carrier as we went from place to place adventuring. You won’t remember that when you were born it was your grandmother who sat with me because your daddy was far away. But you will hear these stories many many times as you grow up. And one day you will experience them and you will remember this path the military has led our family down. Because we don’t plan for it to end soon. But we don’t get to plan much. We are like the leaf in the river drifting to where the send us; never anchored down.
It can be a hard life, but a rewarding one. One filled with adventure and awe as we will travel places many never will- before you were six months old we made it to your first foreign country. Hopefully not your last. It will teach you resilience, perseverance, kindness, and so much more. I know this because I know what it is like to not have a childhood home. I know what it is like to move more times than you can count and can remember.
It will teach you to value memories made rather than objects as moving with many things gets tedious and inefficient. But your memories will last a lifetime. Cherish them and you will never forget where you came from and who you are. It will teach you that people are people no matter where they come from or what they look like. You will make friends of all races, genders, and anything else. It is the people who will pull you through the hard times and celebrate the good. Never underestimate the power of friendship, even when you struggle with a friend. An argument or disagreement doesn’t have to be the end. Everyone has different experiences it is what we learn and take away from them that shapes us.
It will be hard, goodbyes are hard, but thankfully with the technology we have it makes it so much easier to stay in touch. We may grow apart from people sometimes and that is ok, but be there when someone needs you and they will be there for you. You will have friends from all over the world, how many kids get to say that! It may not always feel that way, but remember it can be a blessing.
We won’t always be close to family. Sometimes, most of the time, your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins will be far away. It will be hard, and you will miss them. But they will never stop loving you. They will always be in your corner no matter how far. They are always just a phone call away. Sometimes it will be daddy who is away. He will miss concerts, recitals, games, and school plays. He will miss Birthdays and Holidays. But know he does it because he loves you, not because he loves his job more. He makes that sacrifice to provide for us, to give you the best life possible. I know it can be hard to understand, but he will hate missing it, even more than you do. Know that he will always do everything in his power to be there physically for you. And when he can’t know that he is always there for you anyway.
But no matter what this life holds for us, know that we love you. That we see you, and that we are grateful for the sacrifices you will make every single day to help your daddy fulfill his dream. We will always be there for you and nothing about that will ever change.
your mom and dad.