“I’m a Mom and an Army Wife. What’s your super power?” I don’t know who said it first- it wasn’t me- but I LOVE that quote. There are days when I feel like I live that quote.
MyHero joined the Army at 29 years old, so we are older than the average new recruits. By the time he decided this was definitely what he wanted to do (this was a discussion for several years) we had 2 children and one more on the way- blessed with 3 boys. Obviously, as we discussed the pros and cons of joining the Army, our children were highest on our list of concerns. Was this decision right for them? In our opinions, yes, it’s a fantastic opportunity for them.
(That’s me. MyHero has requested I don’t post pics of him.)
The next logical question was how I felt about raising Army Brats (big difference from brats ). MyHero pointed out that he’d be gone quite often. Considering that he joined during wartime it’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN, he’ll deploy. Add to that BCT (Basic Combat Training, also known as boot camp) and AIT (Advanced Individual Training), FTX (Field Training Exercises), TDY (Temporary Duty), and of course the average workday (the Army doesn’t operate 9-5) and I was looking at a good amount of time single parenting.
The Army is MyHero’s dream. We’ve been together quite some time and in all that time he’s wanted to join. That and the fact that we agreed this was a good decision for ALL of us, and there was no way I was saying “no” because I’d be flying solo occasionally. Although, I will make a confession to you- I was terrified. It’s not that I CAN’T single parent, it’s that I’ve never had to. Would I fail miserably and scar our boys for life? Would I soar and find that I’m a better parent, solo? (For the record, the answer to both of those is no.) How would we all make the transition back and forth? I didn’t mind stepping in and filling MyHero’s shoes, but would I be willing to hand those shoes back to him when he got home? Despite my concerns- which I never confided to MyHero- I jumped in with both feet, and have never regretted it.
Compared to the average family, Army families live a different lifestyle. Our children tend to have concerns that the average child may not face. On the flip side, they have opportunities that other children typically don’t. My 9 year old spends a lot of time asking about Dad dying. It’s something that really weighs on his mind. My 5 year old wants to know why we don’t celebrate holidays on the same days as other families. Father’s Dad did not land on June 20th this year, at least not for us. Valentine’s Day was packaged and mailed to MyHero who was still at AIT on February 14th. My almost 2 year old asks every time MyHero leaves the house “where’s daddy”, which really means “will he be home tonight”. Before you ask “why would you choose this lifestyle for your children” there are benefits.
My sons have climbed in, sat, and played with real life Army Equipment. They are currently living in an area that I can honestly say would not have been on a list of my choosing, but has worked out for us. They have the opportunity to meet, and befriend, people from literally every walk of life. Bigger than these tangibles is the fact that we are teaching them- in a very hands on way- ideals that are important to us. Service to country. Protecting those who are weaker than us. Less talk, more action. Sacrificing for the greater good.
You see, Daddy is not the only one who sacrifices. Our boys do, as well. That’s what I want to show you. The life of an Army Brat. Stick around and Lisa and I will take you through how we as parents address the benefits, issues, concerns, and rewards of being an Army Brat.