A Letter to my Military Children
My Dear Sweet Children,
I would argue on your behalf that being a military child is the toughest job in the military.
You’re the only one who didn’t choose this life.
Your dad chose to enlist, I chose to marry him knowing that we were facing a tough road ahead.
But the two of you had no say. An accident by birth made the two of you “military brats”, a role that you both have handled with grace in a way that has made your Dad and I proud.
My son, you were lucky enough that Daddy was on shore duty when you were born and he was home for the entire first year of your life.
Together, the three of us got to grow as a family. Your dad was there to tuck you into bed and be your best bud.
But as every military family knows all to well, it doesn’t last. At 14 months old, your dad left for deployment.
I’ll never forget your daddy rocking you the night before he left and reading “My Sailor Dad” to you.
Your dad and I both cried. We didn’t know what you would understand, or how you would handle Daddy not being around.
I’ll never forget the way you cried when we left Daddy on the boat and how you clung to his neck saying “Dada” over and over again. My heart hurt for you. How do you explain to a toddler that their Daddy is leaving for a reason they are too small to understand?
The first few weeks were rough. Not only was I pregnant with your sister, but we had to adjust to a whole new way of life.
You were more attached than usual, but you quickly came to accept our new way of life. We stayed connected to Daddy through FaceTime while he was in port and United Through Reading.
You asked everyday when Daddy would be back and I’ll never forget your excitement at Homecoming. But nothing could match how proud your dad and I were of you.
There’s still a long road ahead of us, but your dad and I know you will continue to handle every challenge in a way that will us proud.
Our girl, while only seconds old, you learned what having a dad in the military meant, even if you didn’t know it.
Your dad returned home from deployment in time for your birth, only to be called away for a training exercise and having to miss you being born.
It broke both of us that he couldn’t be there to see you make your grand entrance into the world, but we outwardly addressed the mantra of “it is what it is.”
The night before he left, your dad asked me if you would ever forgive him for not being there. And I knew he wasn’t just talking about your birth. He was talking about all of the things in your life that he’s going to miss. Birthdays, school dances, soccer games.
Things your classmates fathers will be there for, but he won’t.
I reassured him that you will. Both of you will. Growing up as military “brats” is going to be hard. There will be challenges and you will have to find strength within yourselves to keep moving forward. Your father has bravely chosen to answer the call to serve his country, and his choice will impact you in ways we never planned.
But always know that together or oceans apart, we’re exceptionally proud of our military children.
Mom and Dad
Note: April is nationally recognized as The Month of the Military Child. Please consider looking into United Through Reading or Operation Homefront as a way to support military children in your community.