I hear a lot this time of year about how amazing our military kids are. And that’s true. They are resilient, courageous, and resourceful. But you know what else? They are also just kids. And we ask a lot of them. This is our eldest’s fourth move, and he is eight. That is fairly normal for military kids, if not on the low side. That means four times, he has said goodbye to his church, his neighborhood, and his friends. Four times, he has watched his entire home be packed up and taken somewhere new. Four times, he has started over again, making new friends, trying out new foods, exploring new places. Four times (more than that, really), his dad’s job has changed dramatically, which causes a marked shift in our family life. This is not unusual for military kids.
|The highlight of temporary housing for Twinkles:|
joining Trigger in the kennel.
I’ve seen the effects of stress on our kids more than usual this time around. One of my children had two a day accidents for two weeks until we started loading the trailer, at which point things went right back to normal. Two of my children responded to move month by refusing to listen to anything I said (it made for a fun last few weeks—ears seem to be mostly functional again). Early bedtimes have been resumed due to an uptick in meltdowns, tears, and in-fighting. Flexibility is up. Normalcy is down. Last minute changes (and last minute emergencies) are king. This is move month for the military kid.
|Road trip stops|
|Doing it right|
Move month is also Littles hanging out with his dad while the movers load the truck. It is teaching the kids how to say goodbye well. It’s having the Bigs help me take pictures off the walls, and Littles informing me that taping nails to the backs of frames is his favorite part of moving. It’s telling Bruiser every day how much longer until we leave to see grandparents. It’s getting in extra snuggles with all the kids and extra family time since the Man isn’t at work. It’s being blessed by neighbors and friends who want to see you one last time or bring you a meal because they remember how tiring it can be to move. It’s taking down bed frames and realizing that your kids are disgusting because no matter how many times you’ve vacuumed their room, they still manage to hoard stickers, old bandaids, and half eaten, pilfered biscotti behind their bunk beds. It is surviving broken dryers, flooded lodging, changed plans, long hours in the car, and each other's sometimes shortened tempers.
|Sometimes you make use of deserted parking lots to|
get a little scootering in while the baby nurses.
|Moving is exhausting|
Move month is a chance for these kids to grow and learn and explore…and receive extra cuddles because their hearts are feeling a little tender even if they’re excited about what’s next. I’m thankful for my military children, not because they are super human but because they are mine. They’ve greatly enriched my experience of being married to military, and I hope that they will love the way they’ve gotten to grow up. I know it’s not necessarily normal. But then again, because of it, neither are they.