Friday, April 12, 2013

Month of the Military Child

April is the Month of the Military Child and I cannot help but reflect on my own children's tour of duty as Army kids.  They are amazing young men and I could not be more proud of who they are ... and I know that having a dad in the military has shaped much of their life experience.

From the very beginning, my boys have had both extraordinary and challenging experiences.  Like all kids, they go through the typical rites of passage ... learning to walk and talk, starting school, losing teeth, making friends, growing up.  Unlike all kids, they must endure some of these events not only without their dad, but while being worried to the core of their little beings that Dad might be in danger.  It's a large burden for young hearts to bear.

In their young lives, my boys have ...
  • lived in three different states
  • attended nine different schools
  • spent a total of 36+ months without their dad due to combat deployments
  • been separated from their dad for a total of 6+ months due to training rotations
  • called five different houses their home
  • celebrated four Welcome Home ceremonies after deployments
  • spent numerous birthdays, holidays, vacations, and special life events away from their father
These experiences have molded my kids in a number of ways.  They think in an amazingly mature way.  They know what it's like to say goodbye to a parent for months at a time, they understand the worry of having a dad in a combat zone, and they are aware of world events in a way that defies their young age.  They have opinions about political topics and can intelligently discuss the cultures of a variety of countries.  My boys have friends all over the country that they could see tomorrow like there was never a pause in time.

In many ways, these boys have had an amazing advantage in life.  Because of the Army life, they have had the opportunity to ...
  • enjoy some amazing R&R and post-deployment vacations
  • make forever memories with family living in Texas
  • get to know wonderful extended family in Maryland and Georgia while stationed there
  • meet people from various cultures and countries
  • attend some of the finest schools in Texas and in Virginia
  • live on military installations with a fabulous sense of community
  • befriend other military kids, with whom they feel an instant connection
  • see our Nation's capitol up close and personal
  • simulate dismounted patrols, fire an M240B machine gun,  and practice other Army skills at unit family events
  • attend numerous events geared just for military kids, helping them learn more about their role in the Army Family
  • live the very definition of patriotism
  • enjoy the closeness of a family who accepts and meets challenges together, as a team
As a Family, we take Army life one day at a time.  This means we take the good with the challenging, consistently evaluate our readiness and resilience, and work hard to support and encourage one another along the way.  We lean on our own families and our Army friends for support.  We keep our lines of communication open and insist on honesty with each other.  We make every effort to make the most of all circumstances and to appreciate the honor of serving our country, as a family.

On this occasion of the Month of the Military Child, I can easily say that I fully appreciate my Army kids and am so very proud of the young men they are becoming.  I believe their lives as military kids will prepare them to meet the challenges of life in a successful and productive way and I am grateful for the opportunity to be their mom.

Happy Month of the Military Child to my two wonderful Army kids!

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