If I had to make a list of all the things I find myself saying to you on a regular basis, it would include things like “brush your teeth” or “take care of the dishes.” And it’s likely that the list would also include my daily litany of questions like “how was school?” or “did you finish your homework?”
As I sit here thinking about that list, I realize the one thing I don’t say often enough is “thank you.”
What I mean is, I don’t often take the time to say “thank you” for the contributions you make to the success of our military family.
You don’t get a say when a new set of PCS orders sends us to a new duty station hundreds if not thousands of miles away from the last one. You don’t get to choose which school you will go to. You don’t have the option of saying “no, I don’t want to move,” or “no, I don’t want to leave my friends.” You don’t get to demand that we get to be together on birthdays and holidays, or heck, even weekends.
And yet, despite having to say goodbye over and over, despite having to adjust to new routines, new bus schedules, new teachers, new houses and new ways of doing things, you get up every day, hug me, and face the world with the kind of optimism that makes it just that much easier for me to get through my day.
Some days you come home excited to share all the new things you’ve learned and to tell me about all the new people you’ve met. Other days, you struggle to fit in and try not to tear up when you tell me how you miss your old school.
You never question the importance of your dad’s service and when you talk about him to your friends, I can see and hear your pride. When he’s away, you get as excited as I do when the phone rings. You keep track of how many days are left until he gets to come home. You allow him to be a part of your life, even when he can’t physically be there for you.
You are one of the first to stand for the National Anthem and you never fail to hold your hand to your heart when saying the pledge. You ask questions about rank and insignia, about policy and regulation, and you look forward to company-sponsored events, seeing every member of the unit, service members and family members alike, as friends.
You probably don’t know it, but you keep me grounded when our crazy, migrant life gets a little overwhelming. Your smiles and easily-given hugs remind your dad and me why we work so hard.
You don’t question the life you’ve been born into. You laugh, love, struggle, adapt and triumph as if it was no big thing. As if reinventing your life every couple of years was some how normal and easy.
Know that you are truly loved and admired. Know that, without a doubt, your dad and I wouldn’t be who we are today, wouldn’t have accomplished as much and wouldn’t be as happy as we are, without you.
Thank you for seeing our military life as an adventure filled with purpose.
Thank you for being the strong, caring, motivated, understanding and brilliant human beings you are.
Thank you for taking this military-brat life and making the most of it.