25 April 2011

Month of the Military Child

Some of you may or may not know that April is Month of the Military Child.  Consequently, it is also Sports Eye Safety Month, Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month and STD Awareness Month, but I think I'll let someone else blog about those happy topics.  I'm here to blog about what I know and love... military children.

I like to think I am somewhat of a subject matter expert on these particular little members of society.  I have spent countless hours volunteering in their schools.  I have babysat multitudes of them on a regular basis.  I have cared for them during the happiest of moments and have held their hands during the darkest times of their lives.  Oh, and I just so happened to have given birth to two of the cutest military kids you'll ever meet.  This post is for them.

The best way to exemplify how special these kids are is to give you a recent list of statements/questions overheard at our house in the last few months.

"Are we moving today, too?"
"Is Daddy coming home tonight?"
"Is Uncle Sean in Iraq or Afghanistan?"
"When we move, will our new house be one-story, or two?"
"Where will we be living when I turn 10?"
"Why does my friend's dad have a cane?"
"Why do you drink coffee every morning?"

Ok, that last one isn't specific to military children, but you get the idea.  I field a lot of questions from my kids on a daily basis.  A LOT (I'm looking at you, Aunt Carrot).  Lately, I've had to pause before answering some of them.  The absurdity of the questions coming out of their tiny mouths overtakes my emotions.  It is simply not normal for a five-year-old boy to wonder if his daddy will be home every night.  How sad is it that a nine-year-old girl must accept the fact that she will move every two or three years?  Or that her uncle will be gone for a year and that countries named Iraq and Afghanistan are a frequent part of her vocabulary?

But I can't let myself go there.  The kids don't go there, so why should I?  The kids don't know any different.  They've grown up knowing their dad will be home sometimes and sometimes he won't.  They know their friends will move just like they will move.  And they know there will be new friends awaiting them at their new school and in their new neighborhood.  The kids also know that their uncle is gone, but that it's ok. Their cousins will be fine, just like they are fine.

Military children are lots of things.  They are resilient.  They are flexible.  They make friends easily.  They're responsible.  They recognize the importance of selfless service.  They have what it takes to succeed in any situation.  In short, they are my heroes.  So, this month I've made a point to ask THEM some questions.  It looks like they just might have all of the answers.