Dear Military Child,
Thank you. You are stronger than you will ever know and you have taught me so much.
You see, I know a different life. It is one where our loved ones don’t sometimes have to leave us for what seems like forever. I know a life where we can live in the same area as all of our friends and family for an indefinite period of time and not have to think about where we might be moved to next. I know a life where, if we do move, it is on our terms and to a place that we choose. I remember a time when our house was full of pictures and clutter because we didn’t need to constantly clear out and think about what was worth moving to the next place. I know a life without deployments and rules.
This military life is the norm for you. Sometimes that makes me sad but when I see the amazing person you are becoming, it just makes me proud. You have grown up leaving one set of friends behind and starting from scratch. You need to change schools and become ‘the new kid’. That would have terrified me at your age, but you find your place in the new school and are brave in so many ways that you don’t even realise.
Some friends you have had to leave along the way and others have had to leave you. Finding ways to keep in touch with your friends around the world is important and you have learned how to adapt to this. We have had to get used to new technology to speak to loved ones but video chat is so normal to you that you are confused when there is an old fashioned voice call!
You know so much more about geography than I did at your age. Truthfully you probably know more than I do now! You understood about the distance between countries at a young age and don’t question that we can’t visit our family every day. You know that life is a little different for us but you find the happiness and joy in where we are today. You enjoy exploring new cities and new countries with us, and learning about the differences you find.
You have an openness to new experiences and new cultures that I find inspiring. You know that things happen differently around the world and you soak up this information like a sponge. In fact, we find things out together.
There have been times that your loving parent has had to leave for a while. It is hard but you find the strength to get through it and that resilience will stay with you for life. You make such a sacrifice and you don’t even know it. You adapt to the absence and give me strength to make it through with you. And then when we are reunited, you make sure that you shower that parent with all the cuddles they missed along the way.
You take every twist and turn in your stride. You have learned to adapt and know that sometimes things happen for reasons you can’t begin to understand yet. Of course you have questions, and sometimes I don’t have all the answers, but we work it out together.
The Military Child is resilient and strong.
The Military Child won’t feel down for long.
The Military Child is tough and brave.
The Military Child will get what they crave.
The Military Child is worldly and wise.
The Military Child will reach for the skies.
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