by Makayla Demesa
You can’t spot us in a crowd, we are like camouflage but we are not the same. Religion, geography and ethnicity doesn’t define us; we are children of diversity and culture. We are military brats, the children who also have to deal with deployments and moving. Not many people know much about us and what we go through all the time.
Being a military brat has its fair share of ups and downs. Moving is probably the one thing military brats both hate and love at the same time. Having to PCS (Permanent Change of Station) every one to four years can really take a toll on some people, especially if you get stationed somewhere overseas. When you’re stationed overseas it’s harder to attend births, weddings or even funerals of loved ones. Civilians may think “But you get to travel to so many places.” When you’ve stayed in a place for four years, friends become family and then it’s even harder to leave.
Aside from moving constantly, deployments are the next hardest thing a military child could go through. Having to have your parent(s) leave for six or more months can be really heart-wrenching. You’re constantly worrying and missing them. It’s especially hard for Army children anticipating whether or not your dad will come back. Sometimes they’re not even there for birthdays or holidays. The saddest thing is when a father misses the birth of his child. Luckily nowadays we have things like skype and facetime but sometimes it isn’t enough. The best part of the whole deployment experience is when they come back. Waiting at the airport with posters and banners saying “Welcome home Dad!” and then rushing to hug them as soon as they come through the door is an indescribable feeling.
Besides deployments and moving there are definitely some perks and benefits to being a military child. Making friends all around the world is just amazing. From a base in Germany to South Carolina, military brats are everywhere. Not many people can say they know people from halfway around the world. Being friends with other military brats are friendships that last forever. You could leave a conversation and come back five years later and still continue that conversation. The military world is smaller than you think and we’re just one big family no matter the branch, even if there is some playful smack-talk between the branches.
We may not look like interesting people but there is much more a civilian should know about military brats. Something that might be interesting to you is the fact that our pantry is stocked with MRE’s (Meal-ready-to-Eat). MRE’s are made up of all dry food that you cook with a little water. Your dinner choices range from ravioli to pork chops and noodles. Sounds yummy right? Usually this is what a soldier would eat while deployed. Our military IDs usually catches everyone’s eye when they first see our wallet. Military IDs are our ticket to everything on base. You use your ID to get into the On Base Clinic, Commissary (grocery store), Gym, or if you want to buy something from the BX your ID needs to be present. Military IDs are also great for those military discounts at your favorite store.
Every military child is different and have had their own experiences. If you ever get a chance to meet one, feel free to ask them about it. We all love sharing our experiences with other people. Just be careful when you ask them where they are “From” because we military children aren’t really from anywhere; we’re from everywhere.