I have 3 Army kids. 2 are walking and talking and school age. The 3rd is a roly-poly baby with no opinions except that she loves blueberries and the dog. So for the sake of this piece we’ll focus on the older two. This past summer we moved for the 2nd time in 11 months. Not small moves. From Texas with all our family to the heart of Kansas. Then from the Midwest to Upstate New York. Big ol moves for little tiny people. And before our move here, during the great purge of all things unnecessary that we do before those big ol moves, I set a falling-apart-broken-by-movers-held-together-with-duct-tape bookshelf on the curb. When my daughter got home from preschool she was distraught over leaving this bookshelf behind. How could we? It was in the playroom. She saw it every day. And then she said something that would make anyone’s heart melt. She said “Mom, can I hug the bookshelf to say goodbye?” And man ya’ll, that got me. It’s moments like those that make me question everything about this life that we’ve hitched ourselves to. Hugging bookshelves because yet another piece of familiarity is being ripped away. So in an effort to encourage us all, I thought it would be fun to interview my kiddos about this life. And this is one military kid interview that will melt your heart in the best way.
Q: You know Dad is in the Army, right?
6: Um..yeah of course.
Q: What does that mean?
6: He’s a Soldier and works for our freedom.
5: You wear a uniform and you go to work like warfighters and stuff.
Q: What do you like about Dad being in the Army?
6: We get to move lots of different places and do cool stuff. Like water parks and the ocean and other places.
5: I like that he works hard and sometimes we get to get a bounce house because he has a job.
*Disclaimer* We usually rent bounce houses for birthdays or just for fun through our MWR on post. Definitely check it out!
Q: What is hard about Dad being in the Army?
6: Sometimes he works for a long time and all the weekends. And then he’s really tired.
5: Sometimes he has to come home in the middle of the night and that makes me sad because I wish he could come home like regular after dinner.
Q: What does Dad do at work?
6: A lot of hard work to help us and keep us safe. And like he shoots guns and uses other weapons.
5: He does learning things about being a Soldier so they can be ready in case of war and they can have all the moves ready. So if there is a war they can go really fast and be ready.
Q: Would you change that Dad is in the Army or our life?
6: No. Because Dad is a good Soldier and he needs to help. And I want to be in the Army, too. Because it’s cool and I want to do it, too. But maybe I’ll be in in the Air Force so I can fly jets. But the Army would be fine, too.
5: No because I don’t know where the buildings are or pretty much how to drive the car or anything like that. So…it’s good he’s in the Army. (This answer slayed us but they do have to have a good grasp of land navigation in the Army… so…maybe that’s where she was going!)
I loved this little chat with my kids. It was so fun to ask them questions that, honestly, I hadn’t thought to ask before. I was surprised by some of their answers. All this time I spend worrying about them and the choices we’ve made for our family to uproot them over and over, and they are just content and happy to rent bounce houses sometimes.
More importantly, though, it showed me that they see him. They see their Dad working into the night and over weekends. They see him tired and worn and wish he was home for dinner. But they also see him doing an important job. A job that has to be done. A job that “keeps us safe.”
Maybe you can also sit down with your kids when you’re feeling like this life might be a little too much. Ask them about what their Soldier does. Ask them why they think it’s important. And I hope you’ll take to heart what they say. Because over a long weekend, after I’ve put everyone to bed, and I’m loading my dishwasher on my own, after parenting alone for longer than I would like, I want to lean into these melt the heart moments where our little interviewees praised their Dad for his hard work and reminded me that even though the changes make them feel like hugging our bookshelf goodbye, they wouldn’t have it any other way.