I am the daughter of an American soldier. This is something I have been my entire life. I consider it a great honor. This aspect of my life has been full of blessings and struggles, so I thought I’d share some of them with you, so that you can better understand the military brats in your life, and if you are one yourself, maybe you can relate to some of these things.
My father is coming upon retirement and will have served 33 years in the military. Over the last 25 years, I have been a part of three moves (only 2 of them were major). I was born in Chesapeake, Virginia, and shortly after I was born, my family moved to Central Virginia, where all of our family is. I obviously do not remember any of this. From then until I was finishing 5th grade, at age 11, I lived in Central Virginia. In the summer of 2004, we moved to Daphne, Alabama, where we lived during my middle school years (2004-2007). After middle school (convenient, right?), my family was transferred back to Central Virginia, and we moved into a house in the same county that we had lived in before. For many military families, this isn’t the story. We’ve lived in that same community since 2007, so 11 years now.
Throughout the years, there have been several periods of time where my father was not around and was working out of state. I remember a time towards the end of elementary school when he was stationed in Maryland, and would write me letters (some of which I still have, and they are so cool to look back on) and would congratulate me for grades or for keeping my room clean for more than a few days. Time with a parent away sucks, no matter what the reason is.
One important thing to note that I usually get asked about when I mention to someone that I’ve grown up with a soldier dad is that I have never lived on post or on base. I have always lived in a house with my parents in the suburbs. I honestly don’t know what that aspect of being a military brat is like.
In the last few years, my dad was stationed in Maryland again and would spend weekdays away from home, and would come home on weekends. When that stopped, and he got to be home every night, honestly, the transition was weird! I had to adjust back to my dad being around so often.
One thing I do not want to you to miss is that I consider it one of the greatest blessings to have grown up the daughter of a soldier. Despite the time without a parent around, despite the moves and feeling like my life has been uprooted (because TRUST me, those moves were emotionally treacherous, and that’s an entirely different post), I have been so fortunate to be the daughter of a soldier. My father’s service has given me opportunities such as excellent healthcare as a child (shout out to TriCare), excellent banking and car insurance as an adult (God bless you, USAA), and the opportunity to compete in a singing competition that changed the entire trajectory of my life (Operation Rising Star). Beyond those things, I was raised with respect for our flag, for our country, for other people who have served, and with strong convictions.
So, if you’re reading this, thank you, Dad, for serving our country all these years, creating a life for our family that has taken us to places we maybe wouldn’t have gotten to go otherwise, for showing us integrity and respectfulness, and thank you for giving me the privilege of being an Army Brat. Well done, Soldier. I look forward to seeing how you thrive and serve others as you complete this mission and begin your next.