Every military child learns to hate the question “Where are you from?” as it is impossible to answer. My husband was a military child and I am always curious to watch his reaction when he answers that question. “Where you are from?” is a question designed to place you as being from a geographical area or city in order to hazard some guesses about your personality.
Herein lies the beauty of the military child; they are children of the world, often having lived on both costs and outside of the continental U.S.
The question needs to be modified to asking “what is your story?” or “tell me what you liked best about each place you lived.” If the question is changed, then the military child can answer.
Military children know from birth about separation and sacrifice.
They are separated from their extended family. They learn young and quickly that the active duty member will miss birthdays and holidays (frequently) and sometimes this happens with little notice.
Word Boy’s first word, like most kids, was “dada” except he said it to his “Daddy doll” as that was the only Daddy he knew. When Daddy came home from deployment when Word Boy was 14 months old, he cried anytime Daddy approached him. He looked at his “daddy doll” and said “dada” but cried again if his real daddy approached. My husband’s trips are so frequent, so often last-minute and so often in a different time zone, that my military children are not surprised to wake up to find Daddy gone or hear they cannot talk to him on the phone due to time zone differences or even learn that he will miss a birthday.
My military children have an acceptance of the military lifestyle that I do not have as a military spouse.
Parenting my children has allowed me to see deployments and separations through their eyes. They are sacrificing time with their Daddy without even knowing what that means, which makes them true heroes.
Every single summer of my children’s lives they have lost friends. We have moved 4 times since I became a mom 6 years ago. The summers when we have not moved, we have playgroup friends that have moved. Despite this, my military children keep making friends. We had one sets of neighbors move out and were scheduling playdates with the new family within the week. My children loved both sets of children that lived in that house. Even better, we now have friends living all over the country. We have places to stay with built in playmates for the children whenever we take a road trip.