BY ASHLEY BLUE
Whenever a person sees someone in uniform, it’s a no- brainer to go and thank him or her for their service. Some may even thank a military spouse for the sacrifice they make as well. But there is one group that seems to be forgotten in this family dynamic, whose sacrifice equally amounts to them all—military children. And for that reason, the month of April is deemed “Month of the Military Child.”
Born for This
April is a huge month for us as a military family. We get to honor not only our own, but all military children, some of whose sacrifice far exceeds that of our own. Children that are born into military families are completely unaware of the extreme life-altering circumstances that they face on a daily basis, and the challenges that sometimes follow as a result. Which means it is so important that we collectively take the time to focus our attention and appreciation on the ones that show the most bravery through their sacrifice on the home front.
A Parents Greatest Fear
There is a laundry list of battles that military children are faced with throughout their service journey. Anything from separation anxiety, deployments, frequent moves, constant readjusting and adapting, and sometimes even loss. These types of situations could occur multiple times within their childhood, and some may not understand why. This is extremely hard for both parents to navigate through, while fighting off a sense of guilt or wrongdoing, as well.
I know we, along with many other military parents, battle constant fears of the effects these hardships have on our children. Will they struggle to make lasting friendships throughout their childhood? Will they battle with feeling left out from our extended family? Will technology make up for missing birthday parties, family get-togethers, summers with aunties or treasured sleepovers at their grandparents’ houses?
Despite the constant struggles that come along with this life, there are many lessons that can be taught through it all. The responsibility as military parents to these kids is to put even more emphasis on strengthening the family unit as a whole and creating a space of refuge, comfort, and safety, no matter what life throws our way.
A Parent’s Greatest Joy
Along with the many hurdles, there are also great experiences that come along with military life for these children. There is great excitement and anticipation for the return of your beloved service member. There are lasting traditions that you create as a family that develop a deeper bond between you all. We as parents are also able to give our children the chance to expand their mental table to allow a seat for other people, cultures, places, and experiences that are different from their own.
I have no doubt that even though our daughter may be too young to actually remember every part of life right now, there are emotions, feelings, and desires for new adventures being etched into her consciousness during these times. She will be able to see pictures of memories from living in South Korea, eating seaweed and rice like there’s no tomorrow and enjoying interactions with other children, even if they don’t even speak the same language. Things like this raise the bar for military children in a way that may not have been as easily accessible, if not for her serving our country.
No matter what the struggles are that our children face during this life of sacrifice, there are tools that we can give them to build overwhelming strength and resilience within their souls. Yes, baby it’s so hard saying goodbye, but the anticipation and preparation for our reunion will be joyous. I know we have to move again, but let’s read and learn all about where we will call home. I am so sorry that yet another friend will be leaving soon, but let’s sit down and talk about ways you both can keep in touch.
There is always a silver lining that they will learn to search out, no matter what may arise in their life. That is a gift that cannot be replaced. There aren’t enough “Thank you, little ones,” for the selfless and endless sacrifice you make for our country.