My kids are brats!

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My four brats!

Army brats, that is.

Georgia, Hawaii, Virginia, Kansas, and New York are the states they have lived in. Some they’ve lived in twice. The girls have spent a lot of time throughout their childhoods being “the new kid.”

They’ve waved their father off on deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq four times since 9/11. Worrying about his safety, celebrating birthdays with one parent, and taking on non-kid roles around the house are all as routine to them as waking up every morning.

Because of this lifestyle, my girls are resilient, excellent at advocating for themselves, independent, confident and extremely close to one another.

Have you thanked a military child today? When you are thanking a military member for their service, kids LOVE it when you shake their hand and thank them too.  Frequent moves, deployments, and parents missing school events, holidays and birthdays aren’t always easy to understand or accept. Despite all this, these kids are proud of the sacrifices they make to support their parents and country.

Saying goodbye the morning of a yearlong deployment out of Ft. Drum, NY.

Saying goodbye the morning of a yearlong deployment out of Ft. Drum, NY.

What’s harder? Saying goodbye to a deploying parent or welcoming them back into your home? Definitely welcoming a deployed parent home again and absorbing them back into the fabric of family life. Expectations on both sides are incredibly high and often result in disappointment.  New family routines have been developed, people have assumed different roles and are more independent which leaves the deployed parent feeling out of place or left out. The camaraderie that once existed between parent and child is often absent leaving relationships feeling awkward. Being reprimanded by a returning parent is especially harsh for a military child as they often idolize the parent while deployed.
Isn’t moving all the time hard? Most military kids are pretty easy going and adaptable. We once moved with only one week’s notice from Kansas to New York. Our kids said their goodbyes to neighborhood friends, packed up their school cubbies and jumped into the car with our dog. Once in New York, they checked into a new school to finish out the final six weeks of the year. The girls enjoyed moving and living in many parts of the U.S. They feel it gives them a better appreciation for wherever they are currently living. Now, when their friends tell them that living outside of D.C. is “so boring” they just laugh because they have lived in some pretty dull places!
Are military kids lonely? Not a chance. Friendships are formed within hours of moving to any military neighborhood. Kids crowd into the homes of new families, anxiously looking for buddies to replace the ones who have just moved away. My girls stay in touch with kids from all over the United States thanks to their many military connections.

Neighborhood friends make great traveling companions when the dads are deployed. Here we are taking a limo ride in NYC!

Neighborhood friends make great traveling companions when the dads are deployed. Here we are taking a limo ride in NYC!

Can I get some help around here? When a parent is deployed, military kids learn to pitch in where needed. Here are few of the ways my kids worked together the last time my husband was deployed.

  • My oldest daughter quit playing volleyball her senior year so she could help me with chauffeuring duties. Together we spent the year driving the three younger girls to their various activities.
  • My second oldest daughter took over all of the cooking. She’s a WAY better chef than I am so this was a welcome change!
  • Daughter number two attended Back to School Night as a “parent” for one of my daughters when I couldn’t make it.
  • Daughter number three took over all lawn mowing duties as well as garbage related tasks.
  • My youngest took care of our pets.
  • Everyone took turns listening to me and to each other. This was a big job.
  • A not-so-helpful thing two of the girls did was getting boyfriends as soon as their dad left!

Next time you see a soldier, don’t forget to thank their kids for their service too!

Coming home after a year in Iraq...the final deployment!!

Coming home after a year in Iraq…the final deployment!!

21 thoughts on “My kids are brats!

  1. A wonderful tribute to your own children and all the others who belong to the military. My niece and nephew are military brats too, but I doubt they are thanked very often. It is the first thing I’ll do the next time I see them 🙂

  2. What a beautiful family! You must be so proud of your girls. Some of my favorite books growing up were Penny Parrish books- military families- granted they were written long before I was born- but reading those growing up made me very aware of military kids and what their lives must be like. Anyway, I will definitely remember to thank the kids when I have the opportunity!

  3. Gorgeous family, and thank you for sharing this perspective. It’s good to be reminded of the sacrifice that the whole family makes.

    • Thank you! I think all of the moving, deployments, and various military lifestyle hardships really shaped our family into what it is today. The girls have very fond memories of their times living on military posts with all of the other brats! 🙂 We stopped moving once the girls hit high school age. That is often when it becomes incredibly difficult for kids to accept what their mom or dad is asking them to do with the constant moving.

  4. People don’t often focus on the children. Thank you for pointing out that all members of military families make sacrifices. I’m so grateful to your husband and people like him.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. My girls didn’t mind sacrificing. They were, however, so tickled when someone thanked them too! 🙂

  5. This is one of those feel-good posts that makes my day. You have a lovely family. I’m sure if you were to write a book about your family, it’d be a best seller, guaranteed! I love the whole idea that the girls find friends right away after moving into a new area. And seeing how they’ve grown, y’all seem like a great family to get to know! Kudos!

  6. Thanks for allowing all of us to take a moment out of our ordinary day to remember the many sacrifices our military families make! Sadly, I’ve never thought to thank a child…but I will now! 🙂 What a wonderful enlightening post! ~Karen~

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