I have two kids. My daughter is fifteen and currently prepping for her seventh move and sixth new school. My son is ten and this will be his fifth move and his fourth new school. These two are strong! They are crazy resilient! And they have a confidence I never had at their age. They are military kids.
Different Definition of “Home”
If you ask them where they are from, they will most likely tell you where they moved from last. Mine would say Washington, DC. They may also tell you where their grandparents live or where they love to visit. It’s not that they don’t have a place to call “home.” “Home” just has a different meaning for them.
For my 15-year-old, home isn’t a physical place. She says it is where we are all together. She says she finds her stability in our family and not in being in one particular place. My 10-year-old will tell you that home is wherever we live at that time. He says our house moves, but home is where the Air Force takes us. And they both say that home always includes each other. Despite begin siblings and their age difference they are the best of friends. Because sometimes, that’s all they have – each other. (This warms my mama heart.)
Life is Hard, Sometimes
My kids have found that this life they live is hard and full of struggles. They know first-hand that they have very little control as military kids. They will tell you that their toughest days are when we move, and they have to say goodbye to the friends they’ve made. And these two know all too well the struggle of walking into a school and not knowing a soul. They’ve felt lonely. They’ve felt alone.
This is heartbreaking as a parent to watch and endure. But, seeing them grow and learn eases my troubled soul.
My military kids have already discovered some important life skills that many adults have yet to learn:
- They choose joy – every day.
- Their attitude sets the stage for how things will go.
- Good things can happen, and amazing memories can be made even in places that may not seem so good or amazing. They know that life is truly what you make of it.
- They find ways to establish and introduce themselves.
- They’re immensely confident, and I’m astonished every time we move how quickly they get involved and find a tribe. Before I know it, they’ve made friends, are busy with activities and sports, and loving life. I only wish I was as resilient with each move.
Despite the challenges (that’s what we like to call them), if you ask my kids what they love most about this life — they will light up with big smiles and immediately tell you it’s the friends they have from coast to coast and all the places they’ve seen over the years.
They have known the beautiful big skies of Montana, the rocky beaches of California, the busyness of the East Coast and everywhere in between. They love the road trips we take every few years as we make our way to our new home. And they love all the wild memories we make as we visit those interesting local “must-sees.” Both will tell you it’s an “amazing life” and they wouldn’t trade it.
On the Move… Again
I’m keeping all this in the front of my mind as we prep to make yet another move this summer. I keep telling myself – “These kiddos of mine are strong, and they are survivors. They will face this head on and do it all with a smile. They are looking for the good already. And most importantly – we will do this together!”
There are over 1.6 million kids living this military life. It’s not easy, but it’s not as bad as some make it out to be. These kids have skills, experiences, and strength beyond their years. They truly are well-rounded, culturally aware, and always up for an adventure. They will thrive as adults.
Celebrate Military Kids
This April, celebrate the military child and all they bring to your local schools, churches, sporting groups, and communities. Reach out, welcome them and their families, as they build their new “home.” These kids are truly dandelions – putting down roots wherever they land and flourishing – not just surviving but thriving. Here’s to not only my little dandelions but all the military kids around the world. You are amazing and we celebrate you!