Month of the Military Child Essay: What it’s like to be a military child

By Madeline McBride
Patch Middle School, 6th Grade

You don’t understand what it’s like to be a military child until you are one. For me, it is unnatural to stay in one house for more than three years.

When you leave a country, you also leave behind friends. This may be something others would weep about, but I just keep in contact with them. For example, I still talk with my best friend from third grade on Gmail. I love the cycle of it because you can be more socially educated, and learn about the cultures of other countries. Sometimes, I learn about countries that I didn’t even know existed! I know so many bits and pieces of other languages as well: Japanese, Thai, Korean, Spanish, German, French, are some I know a little of, and I’m planning on learning more.

But, it’s not all happiness and fun; there are also disadvantages. Whenever your family decides where to PCS next, there will be no guarantees that you will go there, and it has to be a place where there is a military base. With all the moving, it is hard to own pets, and even have children, especially young children. It is very expensive to ship pets with you on a plane, and caring for children while you do it can be very overwhelming for the parents.

One of the hardest things for many military children is deployment. Luckily, not all military parents are chosen to go, but it doesn’t make it any less sad for kid’s parents who do. Whichever of the parents who leave to a foreign country for about a year, where the military needs them to go. Sometimes both parents work with the military, so one of the parents has to be chosen to go. This is hard on everyone in the family, the parent that takes care of everyone, the gone parent, the kids, and even pets.

Right after I was born, my father had to leave in a deployment to Afghanistan. Every night he would face-time us on the TV, and sometimes read a story to us. It helped us all every night. As a gift to my sister and me, my mother gave us a pillow of our Dad standing on the front to allow ourselves to believe that he was watching over us in the night. The day he came home, I was so thankful he did. Some families, didn’t get to welcome a parent back home.

Through all of it, it has helped me to deal with friend problems, and it helped me to be more carefree with my life. Before, I was strung up pretty tight with my schedule. For all those other inflexible people like me from the past, I suggest traveling around the world to try new things. Overall, I prefer living an exciting, crazy, life, than a boring, safe life. That exciting life, is what comes with being a military child.

Editor’s note: Essays from students across the Stuttgart military community are submitted to the School Liaison Office each March and published throughout the month of April on The Citizen, at the Panzer Main Exchange and read aloud on AFN Stuttgart radio to celebrate our military children in Stuttgart.