This is going to be a hard post to write without crying, laughter and a whole lot of reminiscing…
“So where are you from?”…”Uhh what do you mean?“… “You know, where did you grow up?”… “Like where have I lived?“… “No, like where were you born?”… “Well that’s different than were I’ve lived.” … “Well where do you call ‘home’?”… “Does that mean where I lived the longest or where I wish I still lived?”
Where are you from? Is one of the most open ended questions you can ask a military brat. Because in the military, “home” goes from being a place to being people. The military is a revolving door. No one stays put for very long.
You hear of the military member, and the military spouse and unless you’re in the military, you don’t hear much of the military child. We are the behind the scenes of the military spouse who is behind the scenes of the military member.
My dad is an Air Force Retiree. He served 26 dedicated years to his maintenance career as a C-130 Crew Chief. We lived 5 different places in my lifetime on the Air Force’s terms. Where we had to go and how long we got to stay was something we had very little control over. Change is more than a verb- its a lifestyle in the military. You learn to adapt quickly.
In the 26 years he was in, I went to eight different schools. Pre-k and kindergarten are a given. But the three elementary schools, the middle school and the two high schools I went to were another story.
By the time we moved to Colorado I was meeting friends who had lived there their whole lives. Seeing the rooms they grew up in, with painted walls, recounting the memories there… I was green with envy. I’ve always wished I had a a physical place to call home, to reflect back on the house I grew up in.
Because us brats grow up making best friends that sometimes last a few months before they leave and we have to find new best friends. We go to schools to be the “New Kid” more times than we’d like, many times in a foreign country. We have cried too often while seeing off our newfound and “long term” friends at the airport terminals. We watch as it takes a toll on our parents’ relationships as we say goodbye yet again while moms and dads prepare to go on another deployment not knowing if this would be the last time we see them.
So we hug a little longer, cry a little more, and love a little harder than normal.
While it made me sad to think about when growing up– as an adult I am very thankful for the life experiences and the revolving door that is the military. I have met sooooo many amazing people, lived in a foreign country I am blessed to have lived for as long as we did, in a culture I am forever thankful to have known.
I have family in all corners of the world. Our homes are in the hearts of people sprinkled around the world.
There is so much more I could say about it all. But I will close with this. As brats, we are cultured, we are united by the military culture, we are the distant echo from an unheard cry, we have sacrificed, but we always bounce back because we are resilient.