By Rebecca Alwine, Army Spouse
The summer months bring vacations and time off from school for kids. But military kids often have other things happening over the summer months such as saying goodbye to friends or moving across the country (or world) during a military move. Social media is full of memes and images talking about how military brats will say goodbye to so many people in their lifetime and how resilient they are. Those of us who get to raise military kids know exactly how true this is, especially the resiliency part. PCS season is hard for the whole family, but how often do we hear from the kids involved?
We reached out to military brats and their parents as they were going through a PCS. Some of the things they had to say are funny, some are happy, and some are sad. They run the gamut of emotions and experiences we all have when moving.
The Littlest Military Brats
- “When we moved to Maryland, my 2.5 year old son locked himself in the bedroom that very first night! When we called the emergency maintenance number they kept telling me I could easily unlock it with an eyeglass screwdriver. I kept trying to explain to them the house was still in boxes!” ~ Jennifer, military spouse
- 20 years ago Erin (a military brat) told us that when her mom was moving one of the beds in the kids’ room, she found a stick of butter with teeth marks in it, underneath the bed. Thank goodness she found it before the movers did!
- Two year old S.R. was moving from overseas and spent a bit of time running up and down the aisle of the plane high-fiving anyone who would stick their hand out. (This is when we love Space-A flights full of people who understand!) He also was very over hotel rooms, as he expressed by saying “not another hotel!” after three flights, a two hour drive and his third hotel.
- “About six months after my son’s first PCS, we went on a two week vacation. As we were coming home, he kept talking about his new house. It took the entire trip home and him seeing the same house to believe we hadn’t moved again.” ~ a Military Spouse
And Military Brats continue to say some of the darndest, and truest things.
- “Wow, now we get to meet the President!” said Christina, when in fourth grade she discovered they were moving to Maryland.
- “I like PCSing because I get to make new friends!” ~Briyanna, age 6
- “I like traveling, and moving means I get to make more new friends. By the time I am older, I can visit every friend all around the world for free!” ~Celeste, age 10
- “I like it when we lived in Barstow. It was all summer and parks,” ~Libby, age 5
- Kayleigh, age 9 had a surprise reaction when arriving in the desert. “We have to live here?!” she said when getting off the interstate. When her mom told her they had another 30 miles south to go, she responded, “I think we need to go where there are trees.”
We know that moving isn’t always easy on Military Brats, especially as they get older.
- “Evan, 3, kept asking if we were in North Carolina. Even once we were in North Carolina, it continued. We explained to him that our home was in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He finally understands after almost a week of being here. Austin, almost 2, became so used to sleeping in a pack and play that every time I started to pack it up again he would throw a huge fit about it getting folded and put back in the bag. We are now having separation problems, even if he can see me he has to be attached to me.” ~Carolyn, military spouse
- “The great thing about being an Army kid is that if there’s a jerk in your class, the chances are good that either you will move or he will move. No problemo.” Cian, 10.
- “When we were moving from Maryland to Pennsylvania, my son was in 9th grade and on school number 10. He took his skateboard out in the middle of the night to the park near his friends. My son was so upset to leave his friends behind. He ended up loving the new place, despite taking nearly 10 years off my life thinking he ran away.” ~Barbara, military spouse
It’s hard to be a Mil-Kid
My kids were struggling with being left behind last summer as their friends PCSed. I heard so many questions about why we weren’t moving and why couldn’t we move to Korea with ‘all our friends.’ It’s hard to be a military kid and it’s especially hard when the things you grow accustomed to change. Whether it’s a new school, new house, or new country, they affect us all differently. How have your kids reacted to PCSing?
Rebecca Alwine is a freelance writer, army wife, and mother of three. She’s a contributing writer for ARMY Magazine, a regular contributor for several publications including to Homefront United Network, PCSgrades, ESME, and has also been published in Ms. Magazine and The Atlantic. You can follow her online at www.whatrebeccathinks.com .