What really makes a military child special? Are they really more resilient? Do they really adapt easier? It varies from child to child, and is probably based on their parent’s reactions and military experiences. But one thing is for sure, military children have a different perspective on life. Here are some of my favorite stories involving military children.
“The kids want to know where we are going next and when we will move. They don’t seem to understand that we bought this house and are staying still,” Laurel, mother of 4 says, “My oldest thinks he is Hawaiian and the third child keeps saying she wants to move ‘back’ to Germany, even though she’s never lived there.”
Most military children adapt quickly to moving. But when they start learning that there is not, in fact, a military base at Disneyland, they get frustrated.
When the military life is all you’ve known, it’s your normal. Kristin’s kids said, “Who said nonmilitary kids’ lives were normal? I think ours is.”
Christina’s oldest daughter was describing to extended family why her house was cool. “Our new house is pretty neat, we have tanks in the backyard, haven’t been able to drive one yet though!” Their family lived near a motor pool on JBLM and this was her normal.
Along the same lines, when Kaitlyn was 5 and her dad was deployed, all she knew was that he was with the helicopters in Iraq. Her mom showed her where Iraq was on the map so she understood the distance. One day they were driving past one of the airfields on Fort Hood and she saw helicopters flying, “Oh, now I get it. That’s where Iraq is!” she said.
Wendy remembers a time when her daughter met some cousins at a family reunion. They had been living overseas since her daughter was 2 and her first question when hopping in the car with her cousins was, “What country are you from?”
Meg describes an afternoon where her children were playing outside and her 3 year old stopped what she was doing and stood at attention. Her daughter then scolded her brother and Meg saying, “This is the music where we stand still and be quiet!” It was the music from the ice cream truck.
Military kids assume that their experiences are normal, especially when they spend their life with other military kids. Barbara’s youngest had a shock when he was a college freshman and he discovered that there were kids there who had never spent the night away from their parents. “He thought all kids had dads that were constantly deployed!” she said.
Amber’s kids have never lived in the US. Her youngest is 4 and after living in their new house asked her, “Are we going to pack up to go live in someone else’s house now?” A week later he had a disagreement with a new friend and said, “I’m ready to go to a different country.”
Military kids are amazing, strong, and comforting. They share their experiences to help out new friends when they are sad. They welcome new children into the neighborhood and classrooms without batting an eye. Often they handle change better than we do. I’m so glad we spend time celebrating them every year. But really, as they travel the world and make new friends, every month is their month.
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