Tuesday, April 5, 2016

From Military Child to Military Spouse

April is the Month of the Military Child. We don't have children right now, but this month is still special to me because I was a military child long before I was a military wife. My dad is retired Air Force and I spent most of my childhood years living on an air base and saying good bye to the friends that I made. I have to say - my childhood experience has made me stronger as a military wife.

I have a confession to make - I never wanted to date a military man. In fact, when I was perusing the world of online dating, I would keep going anytime I came across a military man. It wasn't because I didn't respect them. It was more about the lifestyle. I grew up on a military base and watched what the lifestyle could do to families. I didn't think it was the lifestyle for me.

Then, I met my husband at a cute historical pub in Charleston. It was a random meeting and we literally spent the night talking about anything and everything. I never thought it would turn into a marriage and a cross country move. In honor of the month of the military child, I thought I'd share a few things that my military childhood taught me about life.

1. Always be flexible with your plans.
Military life and flexibility go hand in hand. There were several times growing up where I learned this lesson. Plans were sometimes changed last minute and we learned how to adapt to them as a family.

2. Some knowledge is shared on a need to know basis.
My husband sometimes tells me "I can't tell you about this right now, but..." I know that this bothers some wives but it has never really bothered me. Growing up in a military family, there were a lot of things about my dad's job that he couldn't talk about. I simply got used to the fact that I didn't always get to know everything.

3. Friends come and go.
I have made a lot of friends in my 29 years of life. Some have stuck around for the long haul while other friendships have moved to the past. All of the friendships have shaped me in some way and served some sort of purpose. We actually never moved growing up (unusual, I know) but I watched many of my friends move away. I learned a lot about how to let go.

4. Family is important.
Watching friends come and go means that I leaned on my family for friendship even more. My sister was my best friend growing up because she wasn't going to move away and leave me. Our family of four was extremely close and open with one another about things.

5. Strength comes in many forms.
When I hear the word strong, I think beyond fitness and physical strength. I also think about mental, emotional, and family strength. Military life is hard and requires strength and resilience. I learned a lot about strength and independence from my mom and dad who both did their fair share of being strong in different situations. Strength isn't just about being physically fit - it's also about being strong in all aspects of life.

6. Military families aren't special.
I know I may be met with other opinions on this one but I'm going to say it anyways. Growing up, I never felt like I was any more special than other kids or that I was different from anyone else. I was simply a kid living my life like any other kid. Everyone faces their own unique set of struggles and that doesn't make one person more special than another. It wasn't until I was older that I realized military kids go through different struggles than other families. As a kid, I just thought my life was normal.

I have a new appreciation for my family now that I'm a military spouse. There's a big difference between being a military child and a military spouse. I honestly didn't realize how many new adjustments there would be as a military spouse. Perhaps that's a future blog post...

Do you know a military child or were you a military child? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

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