Belle Plaine Graduate
“Wow! Didn’t moving all the time bother you growing up?”
“When you’re born into it, you learn to like it.” This is a typical conversation I would have with someone when they ask about all the moving I did as a kid.
In 1997, I was born in to a military life. My father was a successful officer in the U.S Army. From the minute I was brought in this world, my life would be nothing but out of the ordinary. By the time I was two, I had moved to three different states. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this would be a reoccurring thing. I knew when the days started to get hotter, this meant summer was coming. Most kids look forward to summer. To them, summer meant no school, going to the park, and swimming in the pool. For me, summer meant it was time to pack up our belongings and move onto another state. When I was younger, I had a hard time leaving behind my friends. By the time I was eight, I knew I would have to make other friends.
By the time I was 14, I had moved 10 times. I had moved from Montana to Alabama; Alabama to Texas; Texas to Kansas; Kansas to Kentucky; Kentucky to Texas; Texas to Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania to Germany; Germany to Kentucky; Kentucky to Iowa. Each state had a different climate, different restaurants, and even different languages. I would have a new bedroom, living room, kitchen, and porch that I was each so different from the ones before.
Most people don’t understand how we can do it. The military required a lot of my father’s time. He missed multiple birthdays, holidays, and important milestones in his children’s life. His wife and the mother of his children had to do it all alone for months at a time. Deployments are a confusing time for children. They wonder why their father is gone for so long and why their mommy is crying. Their mother doesn’t have the heart to tell them what really happens at war, so she replies with “nothing sweetie. I just miss your father, that’s all.” Thankfully, we get the return of our loved one that not everyone was fortunate enough to get.
As you can see, there’s a lot to be a child of a soldier. Here we are with the famous question, “How do you do it?”. I will say, it takes a special kind of love to be a member of a military family. With it, there is a lot of sacrifice. These hardships have only allowed us to grow into the individual I am today. It was hard to have my father miss important parts of my life. Knowing he did it to protect the lives of our family and others makes it okay. It makes you appreciate the little things in life, like having the opportunity to run to the grocery store with your father. Growing through what you go through is one of the most important life lessons the military could’ve taught me.