My co-workers, predominantly military spouses, often worry about the effect a deployment or PCS will have on their kids. I don’t have children myself, but having grown up as a military kid, I can share my own experience. Here’s what you should know:

Deployments are hard, but pizza is good. 

My dad rushed from the parade deck into our open arms. In the midst of the excited hugs and kisses, my 6-year-old brother Mark exclaimed, “Dad! Guess what?! We discovered a new food while you were gone! Kid Cuisine!!!!!” He wasn’t trying to rat out my mom for feeding us a diet of frozen Kid Cuisine meals, Jack in the Box tacos, and so. much. pizza. Mark was genuinely stoked about these tasty little meals, and he was just as excited to tell his dad all about them.

I’ll whisper this part: your kids might actually *enjoy* the deployment. Rules are different, dinner is different, you’re different. Remember that they are picking up on what you’re putting out, so put out a pizza and enjoy this time with your kids as much as possible.  

Moving sucks, but we get over it (and will one day be grateful for it)

The night before we were to leave Quantico and drive clear across the country to Camp Pendleton, my 13-year-old self did something stupid. I can’t quite remember what I did, but it was bad enough to get me “grounded.” Only problem was, in 12 hours, I wouldn’t have a room to be grounded in (remember the era before smartphones when grounding meant you couldn’t go outside?). My punishment?  Riding in the old truck that didn’t have A/C through the southern states in June. My dad listened to the most painfully boring audiobooks in the hot truck with me, while my brothers enjoyed A/C and probably the coolest radio stations possible in the other car with my mom and super fun grandpa.

This was a common theme: me acting out, especially right before a big move. Moving is never easy, but as an adult, I look back on these experiences and am filled with gratitude. This military lifestyle forced me into uncomfortable situations, and I now feel so well equipped to handle life’s ups and downs because of it. Don’t be afraid to move your kids, it’s not going to break them.

I am ridiculously proud

I am less than one month out from finally handing in my military ID. I’ve clung to it as long as possible, but the time has come for me to completely age out of the system. I’m faced with the realities of getting older *and* losing the TRICARE Young Adult benefits that give me the best insurance of all my non-military friends. Those things are sad (especially the aging part!), but what makes this so difficult is that I have always been so proud to be a part of this community and my ID is a tangible symbol of that. 

Our first photo as a military family, how cute are we?!

My dad is an actual hero to so many Marines. Every time someone tells us how influential he’s been in their lives, we nod and completely get it. He’s amazing. I am so grateful for our lifestyle, and grateful for the lessons a Marine Corps dad can pass on. We maintain our own gear, we know that hope is not a course of action, and we always have each other’s 6.

P.S. They can take my ID, but this will always be my family. 🙂

Written by: Amanda Moore, former #milkid, Blue Star Families Digital Marketing Manager