April is the month of the military child. A month to celebrate sacrifice. A month to celebrate strength. A month to celebrate dedication. A month to celebrate love. A month to celebrate commitment. A month to celebrate determination. A month to recognize these sweet souls, both young and old. A month to celebrate what it truly means to be a military child.
I was not a military child. I lived in the same house my entire life. In fact, my parents still reside in that very same house. I always wanted kids, but I never in a million years dreamed they would be military kids. When I met my husband I was not too keen on the idea of a military man. But...I loved him and we do crazy things when we fall in love. I had no idea what the military life would be like, but I jumped right in and was ready to embrace the adventure ahead. I knew it would be hard and boy it has been tough. It has stretched us and pulled us and pushed us in so many ways. Now all that to say, I had a choice when it came to the military life. My sweet children, they didn't get a choice, they were just born into this wild and crazy adventure we are on. And my how they have embraced it!
My little boy turns five this year. In his short life, he has lived in Maryland, Hawaii, and now Japan. That's two states and two totally different continents in barely five years! He has been on an airplane too many times to count, if I had to guess I would say at least twenty times! He has road tripped from Maryland to California visiting all the sites in between. He's seen so much from volcanoes to the Grand Canyon to the Napali Coast to Mt. Fuji. This kid has seen more in his little life than most will in an entire lifetime.
Now you might think that I am bragging about all my child has done. Not one bit, although I do think it is pretty awesome how well traveled our child is, there is a whole lot more to this post. Military kids are just plain awesome. Most do not realize all the sacrifices these kiddos make. They give up time, so much time with their mommy or daddy. So much of their life is spent without one of their parents around. Micah's daddy has only been home for one of his birthdays, that means that he has spent a total of three birthdays without daddy home! My daughter was born without her daddy being there to say hello to her when she entered the world. I could give a million other examples of things missed, but I trust you get the idea. These kids say goodbye to people they love on a regular basis. They cry for mommy or daddy to be home. They know what is coming when daddy is packing up his bags. They don't mind being woken up in the middle of the night because it is time to go pick up daddy. They live for FaceTime calls with family. They have to say goodbye to their best friends. They know that their daddy or mommy is a hero because they serve in the military. They know how special our time together as a family is. They live for that moment when daddy walks in the door after a long day at work. And they savor that feeling of daddy being home again.
On the average, us military folks move every two to three years. And with a move comes so much change.
You change schools.
You change friends.
You change houses.
You change bases.
You change churches.
You change weather.
You change routines.
You change schedules.
You change communities.
You change neighborhoods.
You change sceneries.
You change extracurricular activities.
You are basically starting a completely new life every couple of years. And that is a whole lot of change for a child to endure! That in itself speaks volumes of these precious military children. They are resilient and keep on keeping on. I am blessed to have two pretty amazing military kids!
A lot of people think the military lifestyle is not good for kids. People believe it's bad because there is no consistency. You settle in and then you move away. You settle in and then you move away. You settle in and then you move away. It is ever changing, kids need structure. Mommy or daddy is always coming and going. You are constantly on the go and having to leave and make new friends. They believe that it is tough on the kids. Please do not get me wrong, it is tough on the kids, but it has so many wonderful benefits.
My kids crave adventure and exploring and trying new things. They wake up and often ask, "what adventure are we going on today?" I love that! I love their zest for life. I love that they see our life as one big adventure. My children are world travelers. They get to meet so many new people along the way. My children are able to pull stuff from every place we have lived. They are well rounded and well experienced. They have seen the world. Every new place brings new lessons and new experiences and a whole new culture to learn. They understand language and know that we don't all speak the same language. But despite that, we can still all play together at the park and have a blast. They understand how big this world is and how much there is to see and do. They understand that moving means saying goodbye, but with that comes a new place to explore! They understand how to live life to the fullest. They thrive. And they have these amazing real life, real world experiences to carry with them forever.
My life is surrounded by the faces of military kids. And each one of them is special and deserves to be celebrated this month, and every month of the year.