I’m sure I speak for all military brats with a father in uniform when I say “I have a hero as a father.” For 21 years, he proudly served in the Air Force and throughout his military career proved to be a loving and awesome dad.
He joined the military right out of high school for the opportunity to travel and see the world. When you’re 18 years old, it’s really hard to know what you really want. But, my dad would tell me, at that point in his life, he knew there was something better out there for him. The military gave him fulfillment and when he started a family with my mother, he felt the need to be a dedicated husband and father in addition to a deeper commitment with the Air Force.
When I was a child, there were a lot of times that I hated military life. I’m so glad both my parents had patience because I was pretty unruly at times. My main beef with the Air Force is that they would take my awesome dad away from me. It was a struggle at times for my younger self to deal with the separation, but I think it is how my dad handled the situation that makes him pretty amazing.
Honestly, looking back, I can’t tell you how much of that time was spent apart. As an adult, I calculated the times – and it was a lot! I commend my dad for making the time we had together precious because it’s all I remember now. I don’t remember the moments apart as much as the times together. I remember our PCS in 1992 from Utah to Texas, when I was pretty pumped to receive an Indian headdress in Wyoming. I remember Take Your Daughter to Work Day 1996 when my dad showed me the intelligence briefing room where he would explain missions to pilots.
Having an airman as a father gave me a huge sense of pride. I am very proud of my dad and all his accomplishments. His actions in and outside the military has given me the strength to overcome any challenges that come my way. It’s really made me value every moment of the time we would spend together as well as cherishing all the memories. In addition, it’s given me the opportunity to experience things and places the average child wouldn’t! Who can say they’ve lived in multiple countries in their lifetime?
I don’t remember the moments apart as much as the times together.
His love and support (as well as my fabulous mother’s guidance) helped give me the kind of strength to move out and tackle the world on my own. In an ironic twist of fate, I’m back to the lifestyle I was born into. I fell in love with a military man. Instead of the Air Force, I’m dealing with the Army and my beef with them is the same. At first, I was terrified, but I think my dad has shown me the importance of treasuring time together in my relationship with my husband.
This Father’s Day I thank my dad for being the amazing man he is. I’m truly lucky to have him as a dad. In my opinion, the Air Force was lucky to have him for 21 years. My husband and I don’t have any children yet, but when we do, he seriously has some gigantic shoes to fill. Here’s my toast to the military fathers out there, juggling two tremendously important jobs at once.