My mom recently surprised both her family, and mine, with a visit to our home. She asked us on Sunday if we would be up for having her come that Wednesday. Since she has an open invitation, we were thrilled to have her visit and spend time with her grandchildren!
Before my mom arrived, one of my friends asked me, “How long has it been since you last saw her?” I really had to stretch to think. I realized it had been three years since my mom last saw my son!
Early on in our marriage, I asked my husband if he would agree that, when we visit family, we go together. Since our family was growing, last year we modified and agreed we will readily open our home to anyone who wants to come visit, but quite frankly, our family can’t afford to pay for everyone to go visit family annually. With those two agreements in place, I acknowledge it is quite difficult to make visiting family a reality.
So, I will admit some of the length between visiting with family is due to our arrangement in our family.
As we were driving to the airport at the start of my mom’s visit, I realized this is the nature of the beast of the military family. I’ve read numerous blogs throughout the past couple years which touch on military life, and many have included the sentiment military families don’t go, “on vacation,” they go see family.
I thought of how, even with the best technology has to offer, so many military children have a very basic relationship with their extended families – not just with grandparents, but also with aunts and uncles, and perhaps more importantly to children, with their cousins. There is only so much of a relationship that can be built through phone calls, FaceTiming or other video calls, e-mailing, and snail mail packages.
While I can dwell on feeling sad for my children, and the difficulty of building familial relationships for my children and their extended family, I instead keep entertaining the thought of how resilient (most) military children become.
Military families can display (I recognize like any microcosm of society, there are the exceptions) some of the strongest bonds between its members because they realize how quickly they must rely on each other through moves, deployments, long hours of their service member working, being away from extended family, and much more.
I am impressed by how well they take their transient lifestyle in stride. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not without challenges, and their parents may beg to differ at how well their children adjust, but it’s important each child knows how impressive they are, for their continued experiences of the military lifestyle!
They are truly modern-day, unsung heroes.
For another great perspective of these inspirational kiddos, check out this letter written by a military child for celebration of Month of the Military Child this year.