They say that being in the military is a tough job, but I honestly don’t think it’s that tough as people may think. Yeah, the possibility of deployments, TDYs (Temporary Duties, or “business trips”), long hours at work, etc. may seem stressful initially, but they’re all quite liveable and I can get by… However, that’s just me coping with stressors, but I’m not the only one that carry these burdens on my shoulders. My children carry those burdens, too.
Growing up, I had the “luxury” of remaining in one place my whole childhood: I had the same group of friends growing up, grew up in the same house, went to the same school as my sisters, and even had the same job as one of them. And it’s funny that I can now call my own childhood a luxury compared to my children’s life and their futures.
My oldest just turned seven years old last month, and from what I can remember, he’s only had one birthday where he invited his friends from school and daycare. It’s not because we’re a super introverted family (because we’re not), it’s because military families are constantly moving around. In his lifetime, he has moved three times due to my PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders. And I am super grateful that he’s a pretty positive child that can make friends with just about anyone. Not only has my oldest endured these moves, but he’s also endured many other unfortunate events that have occurred in my personal life and military career. He never asked to experience any of this, but I am so thankful for having such a resilient child to pick up without being put down for a long time.
We are all reminded in the military to not take our families for granted, because when we take off our uniforms for the last time, our families will be the only thing we have left. Sometimes, days get hard and work just piles on our plate, so missing a few soccer practices are okay, but it’s bad when you neglect your duties as a parent. This is why this month is so important! Celebrate you children and love them everyday. You have only one shot at watching them grow up.