What You Don't Know About Military Families - But Should
To celebrate April - which, surprisingly enough (to me anyway), is the national Month of the Military Child - I thought I'd share an aspect of my life that I haven't blogged about much: my experience as the daughter of a (now-retired) Marine. My dad joined the Marines before I was born, so the military has been a part of my life from day one.
So, with some help from Entity Magazine (where this post of mine first appeared), here are five basic truths from a life-long Marine brat!
1. Service members' families make sacrifices too.
I'll always be grateful for how much my dad's military service helped me grow. I walked barefoot on beaches in Cuba and built snowmen in Virginia Beach. I have friends in Texas, California, Canada, North Carolina and several other dots on the map. Yet, when one person joins the military, his or her family must make sacrifices as well.
Obviously, my mom, sister and I didn't ship off to Iraq or Afghanistan with my dad and serve his deployments with him. Nor did we wake up at 3 A.M. to hike up a mountain with fifty pounds of gear strapped on our backs. So what sacrifices am I talking about?
|Celebrating my 16th birthday (pre-celiac) via Skype...|
2. Military parents aren't "drill sergeants" at home.
When I tell people that my dad was a Marine for 20+ years, people often ask, “Does he make you call him ‘sir’ at home? Or do push ups and burpees when you misbehave?” The truth is, at home, military parents are no different (at least in my experience) than most parents. Each has his or her own method of discipline (groundings, anyone?), preferred nicknames (no, "sir" wasn't one of them) and “code” of rules for family members to follow.
|Dad is also my fave yoga-partner-in-crime!|
3. Military parents don't always want their kids to "fill their combat boots."
Not all military parents want their children to enlist in the armed forces. Personally, while I respect my father’s job and the work every service member does to keep America safe, the military has never called my name – and he is just fine with that. (And, now that celiac is in the picture, I probably can't legally serve anyway. Although it's a complicated subject, as of 2016, the Department of Defense states that those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are not eligible for military service.)
|Throwing it waaaaay back...|
4. Siblings are closer - and ready to defend each other.
It's impossible to deny that relationships between siblings are complex and vary greatly between families. However, countless moves and plenty of school years as the “new kid” can turn military siblings into lifelines. Research has found that hardships often bring siblings closer together - and the challenges of being a military brat seem to fit inside that box.
|At my college graduation!|
5. Military families aren't only created by blood, but also by service.
I wouldn’t call anyone who has ever enlisted in the military a member of my family, but service does create a special bond between those involved. Service members and families unite for special events like annual balls, summer BBQs at the beach or retirement ceremonies (as we experienced last summer). They ask about each other’s next orders (where he or she will move) and share tips on adjusting or deployments.
|And sometimes military service can bring family members together...|
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*Although I wrote this post, it first appeared at Entity Magazine. To check out the rest of my articles for Entity, click here!*
*Also found at Dare to Share*
Do you have any ties to the military or know friends who do? What else do you want to know about being part of a military family? I'd love to answer more questions in the comments!