He said it more in passing from the seat behind me in our minivan as I drove him to his friend Landon’s house.
“Ya know, mama…” he begins. I look in the rearview mirror at his handsome profile, his eyes staring out the window.
“When people ask me where I’m from, I’m never quite sure what to say.”
I smile and tell him that’s a normal conundrum for military kids. And that ain’t the only one, I think to myself.
Not long ago, my husband retired from the United States Air Force after serving well over 20 years. Even though he’s no longer active duty, I still witness amazing qualities in my kids forged during their many years as junior members of the military family, qualities honed in hard fought battles of their own.
Since April is Month of the Military Child, it seems doubly appropriate to honor all our past and present military kids. May my words below be a standing ovation for those youngest in the military family, those who didn’t sign up for this lifestyle but were born or adopted into it. Those who may not know “where they’re from,” but will always have a place – a family – to belong.
In Praise of Military Kids
We honor you the military kid, the youngest of our unsung heroes whose daily choices are fed on courage and starved of complaints.
You whose shoulders slump with heavy realities you don’t always understand but whose feet still move one brave step at a time.
You who shows patriotism every time you wave goodbye to the moving truck or your mom or dad.
You who knows another move is around the corner but will still reach out to the new friend living across the street.
You whose roots may be shallow but strong, supporting beautiful blooms just the same.
You who takes up the slack of a missing parent by not slacking off on household chores.
You who are practiced at making friends quickly even though you know goodbye will come quickly too.
This is for you the military kid, you who are more adept at conversing with grown-ups than some grown-ups are.
You who struggles in your new environment but doesn’t want to worry mom or dad with how you feel.
You who let the words and tears fall anyway.
You who wanders the halls of your new middle school desperate to make sense of your mixed-up schedule.
You who asks the new kid at school to sit by you at lunch because you knows how terrifying that initial walk into the lunchroom can be.
This is for you the military kid, you who memorizes your home phone and address just in time for it to change.
You who ignores your flip-flopping stomach on the first day of your fifth school in five years.
You who when asked, “Where ya from?” are never quite sure how to answer.
You who handles new situations with incredible adaptability but mature-beyond-your-years dependability.
You who knows that home is more about the people you’re with than the place you sleep.
You who unknowingly serves and sacrifices so much alongside your parents, never asking for anything in return.
You who knows that being called a brat is not an insult but a badge of honor.
This is for you the military kid, you who don’t expect a well-deserved thank you but earned one just the same.
To you we say heartily and exuberantly: thank you. Thank you for all the quiet ways you serve well. You are seen, appreciated, and wildly loved.
If you have a military child in your circle of influence, give them an extra hug or a high five today…
from you and from me.