For those familiar with the military world, April is the Month of the Military Child. Before I married into the Army, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what this meant. Now, with three children of my own, I understand why these resilient little dandelions are celebrated with a month of their own. This month is such a small testament to what they weather and endure, and I wanted to take the time before April sails away to honor their sacrifice – far above and beyond that of either Ryan or my own in this Army life.
Did you know that most military children have said more goodbyes in their young lives than most adults? Spencer has lived in three states. Porter has lived in two already, and each of my babies has been born in a different state.
Did you know that many military children have to pickup up in the middle of the school year and start fresh in a new state – or country?
Did you know that many military children have watched a parent deploy, head to the field, or leave TDY before they even reach the tender age of five?
As I watch Spencer navigate the murky waters of yet another deployment, I’m reminded by his strength and resilience, and I admire him for processing this in the best way he knows how. Porter is still a bit too young to truly understand, but I see the toll this takes on Spencer at age four. He’s navigating the stages of grief, literally, and it breaks my heart, but it also makes me so proud to see him endure and continue on. Yes, he’s had his issues. He’s angry. He’s sad. He misses his daddy, but he resents what he doesn’t truly understand.
But you know what else he does each day? He soldiers on.
He uses his manners. He goes to school. He loves on his baby sister and works through these stages of grief far better than many seasoned adults. And the thing is – he’s not alone. I can count far too many military children going through the same thing right now, and I want to hug them all. I want them to know how loved and celebrated they are; that we are so proud for the sacrifices that they make, too, because they make them without choice.
So, yes, the Month of the Military Child is special to us, and if you see something referring to “purple up,” know that it’s referring to these brave, courageous, fierce little ones all around the world standing brave at the home front. Celebrate them. Love them. Let them know how proud you are of them because they, too, have given so much for us.