My husband and I weren’t sure we ever wanted kids. There were many reasons behind our decision but one was our military lifestyle. My husband and I signed up for this life, he enlisted and I met him after he was in the service, I knew what I would be getting into but what if our children wouldn’t love the life like we do? What if they were angry with us? It was something I spent many time thinking about.
I didn’t know many other military families at the time and besides my immediate family everyone I spoke to about it were civilians and some had some pretty negative things to say. I heard “How could you do that to a child?” “Why would you want to take them away from their home and friends?” “Moving them all the time can’t be good for them” and so on. I couldn’t believe how many people thought it would be detrimental to a child to grow up in this life. It truly made me wonder if having a child was a road we would travel. I felt guilty.
These were thoughts we had until we moved to a new unit and I met another spouse and her then 4 year old daughter. I was truly in awe of this woman and her child. I was so impressed by her handling of the difficulties she faced as a military spouse with a child and how close her and her daughter were. She has shown me how amazing this life can be for kids. How much they get to experience and how amazingly resilient and adaptable children truly are. She taught me it’s all about how you approach the topic with your kids. If you are scared and anxious about relocating, your kids will be too.
Over the several years I have known this family I have seen them make their relocations an adventure. They talk about all the exciting things they will do in their new place. They make sure to get their daughter involved in many after school activities so she will be sure to make friends. Seeing how excited their daughter is when talking about moving again and how many great memories she already has from the places she has lived made me feel so much better about bringing a child into our lives. As I met more and more families in the military I saw a trend. I saw happy kids. I met happy, smart, independent, well adjusted kids with amazing relationships with their parents. See, we are all a part of this life. Each member of the family has a role, a job and responsibilities. Isn’t that what children need, to feel they belong, that they are a part of something and to know they are truly loved?
Children of military families might have to move often and make new friends in new schools much more than the average kid but they also have friends all over the country. They are extremely close to their siblings and parents. They have seen the country and even sometimes the world. After meeting so many amazing military kids I found myself excited to share this life with my own children.
Nine months ago my husband and I welcomed our daughter Lennox into the world and into our lifestyle. I am already keeping a book of our journey for her. I want her to celebrate her life, celebrate what her father does for his country and see the wonder in all of it. I have no doubt that she will have trouble saying goodbye to friends she makes and I am sure she will cry and be sad when we leave a house we made our home. I also have faith that she will find new friends and love new homes we make along the way. I have faith that she will be grateful one day for her experiences and memories, I have hope that she will love the life we share with her as much as we do.
One thing you learn quickly as a military spouse is that home is where you unpack your things, it’s not a certain country or state or town, it’s the place you share family dinners, celebrate birthdays, have arguments, movie nights, first days of school, school dances and science projects. It’s where we are together, where we love each other.
It doesn’t matter if you’re military or civilian, it just matters that you’re family.