"Do you ever worry?" she asked nervously. "That all this moving around and change will mess them up?" She nodded her chin towards our kids who were playing at the park.
"No," I answered quickly. "Not even a little bit."
She gave me a curious look. "How do you know?"
"I was a military kid. And I am thankful for all the changes."
True, it wasn't always easy. I hated leaving friends behind. Before email and social media existed, it was tough staying in touch. Oh sure, letters would be exchanged fervently during the first few months, but then they'd taper off. It was okay though, because by then I had made new friends.
I appreciate everything I went through because it made me who I am. And I know other military kids will feel the same. Here is why.
1. They'll be interesting conversationists. When people ask where they are from, they can list off a bunch of different places. For example, when I'm asked where I'm from, I say, "Well, all over. I've lived in New Jersey, Italy, Germany, California, Belgium, Massachussetts, England, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Texas." It would be boring to just give off one place.
2. They've learned to adapt. When it's time to leave, they eventually figure out how to make new friends. They learn their new neighborhood. They navigate their new school. This comes in handy when they start a new job because during the interview they can truly say, "Yes, I can adapt" when asked how they deal with changes.
3. They know how to say goodbye. Oh sure, farewells are always difficult, but they can get easier with time. I always hated leaving people behind, but after I had done it multiple times I knew I'd be okay in the end.
4. They experience other cultures. If they live overseas, they can see firsthand how other people live. I remember enjoying German food and German markets. I can even count to ten in German because in PE, it was required to do so. I also learned the streets are MUCH smaller in Europe--as are the homes. In England I learned what a Spotted Dick was and even though Yorkshire Pudding frightened me, I did love Bangers and Mash.
5. They can say that their family member is a hero. Not many can say this. But when your parent is in the military, they are serving their country. Some even risk their lives for their country so you and I can enjoy our freedom.
So yes. Military kids will be okay. They'll be stronger for all they've gone through.
They'll be proud to be military kids.