During this month of the military child, I was thinking about all of the things that make military kids unique.
There are so many differences in my kids’ childhood compared to mine. So many memories that they will have to look back on one day that most people will never experience.
Here are 19 things that just make sense to military kids:
1. Waiting for your dad to get his haircut 55,948 times a year.
The military has strict requirements for how service members are supposed to look; keeping hair cut and being clean-shaven is at the top of the list for men. So, military kids are pros at waiting for their dad to get his haircut nearly every other weekend!
2. Using a gazillion stickers to decorate care packages.
Military families send care packages to their service members when they’re overseas. And what better time to bust out ALL the art supplies and stickers? We decorate each box we put in the mail!
3. Squinting to pick him out in group work pictures.
Are you even a military kid if you haven’t squinted and strained to pick out your dad in his group work pictures?
4. Moving boxes….so many moving boxes.
There’s no military kid out there who hasn’t played or taken pictures in moving boxes. From the big wardrobe boxes to the small ones packed full of heavy books, there’s a creative use for them all!
5. Always being on the lookout for helicopters.
Maybe this one depends on your dad’s job, but since my husband is in aviation, my kids are always on the lookout for helicopters! Even when they were little they would point out every helicopter in the sky and wonder if their dad was in it.
6. FaceTiming during big events.
Sometimes being a military kid means you have to FaceTime during big events so your dad doesn’t completely miss out on these milestones.
7. Some of your baby pictures are blurry Skype pictures.
Being a military kid means that some of your baby pictures are blurry Skype screenshots, especially if your dad was in the Army before FaceTime was even around!
8. Your mom dressed you in patriotic outfits…a lot.
You might be a military kid if your mom put you in patriotic outfits all year long! Can’t get enough of Ol’ Glory!
9. Making homecoming signs before you ever went to high school.
Homecoming signs are typically something high schoolers make during Homecoming Week at school…but not if you’re a military kid! You probably made homecoming signs before you left elementary school!
10. Waiting for your dad to shine his boots before he can come play.
You might be a military kid if you ever had to wait for your dad to finish shining his boots before he could come play with you.
11. Defense lessons and trigger discipline start early.
When your dad is a soldier, self-defense and shooting lessons start early in life! It’s never too soon to learn trigger discipline.
12. Your dad falls asleep in the middle of his conversations a lot.
Okay, so this probably happens to all kinds of kids and dads. There are hard-working dads in every profession, not just in the military. But I think soldiers have a unique ability to fall asleep anytime, anywhere. They understand that you gotta get sleep when you can.
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13. Playing on military equipment.
Whether it’s a tank, a Humvee, or a helicopter, military kids have probably played on it! There are all kinds of events where military kids get up close and personal with military equipment.
14. Collecting PCS stickers for your mom to make an ornament.
PCS stickers can be found on furniture years after a PCS. Some furniture might even be sporting multiple colors. And only military kids have done a scavenger hunt to help their mom make a Christmas ornament!
15. Paratroopers fall from the sky on the opening day of your sports season.
You might be a military kid if paratroopers have ever fallen from the sky on the opening day of your soccer season!
16. ‘Going on Skype dates’ with your dad.
‘Going on Skype dates’ was one of my kids’ favorite things to do when their dad was overseas. And you gotta make it a real event by getting take-out and watching a movie ‘together’.
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17. You have baby beret pictures.
If you’re a military kid, you have toddler pictures of yourself in part of your dad’s uniform. Whether it’s his beret, his boots, his cap, his helmet, or whatever else you could get your chubby little hands on, you had to try it on yourself!
18. You’ve racked up more highway miles than a used Honda Civic.
If there’s one thing military kids are good at….it’s road trips! Driving home to visit family and multiple long-distance PCS-es have turned my kids into road trip pros!
19. You’ve cried during ‘see-you-later’ hugs.
This is hands-down the worst part of being a military kid. Whether it’s your dad heading out for deployment or leaving your grandparents after Christmas break or telling your best friends goodbye before a PCS, military kids have to give more see-you-later hugs than they can count. But in the end it only makes them stronger and more resilient.
Military kids certainly have unique childhoods.
I’m sure there are other things that I’m forgetting to list here, but these kids are some of the best out there!