Military Life Introduction
The Military Brat Team and the Homefront Team are combining efforts to share our experiences with the military lifestyle so that others can fully understand the sense of community, sacrifices, benefits, and expectations we all share as members of a truly unique group of people. Each month we will feature a story shared by a Military Brat Team member, and a story shared by a Homefront Team member.
From a brat’s perspective
Growing up in the military can be hard. I remember getting so angry and sad when we had to say goodbye to our friends and move all over the country because we had to go where the Navy sent us. We had to endure being a constant new kid at school, and we had to work our way into friendships, only to have them break apart when we moved again in a few years. However, with all of the struggles we went through, we had a great deal to be thankful for. I am the third of five children, so my siblings were my playmates wherever we went. We were great explorers and set out to conquer each and every hiding place, secret path, and playground we could find in the quickest time possible. It was how we claimed our territory and marked it as our home. We grew up for a time in Virginia Beach, Virginia, climbing trees, eating plums from our neighborhood trees, and catching the sweet nectar of the abundant honeysuckle flowers on our tongues. There were marshy ponds nearby where we saw tadpoles grow into frogs, and caught turtles (of course, naming them after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Fireflies danced in the yard, and we held contests to see who could catch the most in a jar with holes in the lid. We caught caterpillars and made them little homes inside shoeboxes full of leaves, only to find that they had fled when we checked on them in the morning.
The best part of growing up as a military brat in Virginia was definitely the military appreciation day held by Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. With five kids and two adults living on a Navy income, we could never afford to go to theme parks, so this was the greatest gift we had to look forward to all year. We got to go on the fourth of July. My mother, older sister, and I were in line for the terrifying rollercoaster, the Loch Ness Monster, and at the last minute my older sister chickened out. So I was trapped into going, pretending I was brave while I shook from head to toe. I kept my eyes shut tight the entire ride. My mom shook me and told me to look up at the fireworks as they exploded above our heads, and I wish I had actually opened them. At least I got to brag about how brave I was when I got off! The whole day was a fantastic experience that made us all feel like a family, and made us all very proud of our status as military brats.
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