They call them Military Brats

My daughter just started her senior year of high school. She is a track star, known for exceptional soccer skills and her nutty sense of humor. She has a calm strength about her that is effortlessly beautiful from the inside out. And, as an honor roll student, she has earned an early graduation if she so pleases.

As a military family, we, like so many other military families, worry about constantly transitioning our children through new states and new cultures, trying to keep them up to speed with their academics and extracurricular activities. My daughter lived in a different city each year of high school. And now, we’re on the opposite coast for her senior year. She’s starting a brand new life during this mile-marker year. I seem to be more worried than she is.

She has faith in the midst of this madness. She has faith in our unconventional methods. She seems to have enjoyed this little life on wheels. I’m not sure she realizes that so much of what we have done has been a free fall, a great big experiment with very little room for traditional routines. Yet somehow she thrived, accomplishing amazing thingsand collecting amost darling array of memories along the way.

I am so proud of her. So much so that I could very possibly burst. The military lifestyle is notthe easiest road. In my opinion, in addition to earning a high school diploma, she has earned a doctorate in “Juggling Life While State-to-State Hopping.”

They call them “military brats.” I call them “better than most.” Oh no, I am not in the least bit biased. I am a whole lot biased for these kids, and proud of it!

Take heart parents of military children. It will be okay! They can thrive.

What are your biggest worries this back-to-school season?

Aliyah Meehan

Senior Year

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She is a track star, who is known for exceptional soccer skills and a nutty sense of humor. There is a calm strength about her, that is effortlessly beautiful from the inside out. Honor roll student that just discovered that she has earned an early graduation if she so pleases.

Junior year was successful. A different city for each year of her high school career, senior year on the opposite coast. A brand new state, a brand new culture. A brand new life at what should be the end of a mile marker. What now? I seem to be more worried than she is. This seems to be more complex then she bargained for.

She has faith in our madness. She has faith in our unconventional methods. She seems to have enjoyed this little life on wheels. So much of what we have done has been a free fall. I wonder if this would be a revelation to her. 100% of this was experimental, with very little room for traditional routines, yet somehow she thrived. Accomplishing amazing things, and collecting a most darling array of memories along the way.

I am so proud of her. So much so that I could very possibly burst. This is not the easiest road. In my opinion she has earned a Doctorate in ‘Juggling life while State to State hopping’.

They call them ‘Military Brats’. I call them ‘Better than most’. Oh no, I am not in the least bit bias. I was in high school a few lifetimes ago;  College Trig, Calc and more than a handful of AP classes is a feat for any average ‘well rooted’,’attended one high school student’. I call them ‘Better than most’,- and come to think of it, I am a whole lot bias for these kids,- and proud of it!

Aliyah Meehan

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Military Homecoming – Behind the scenes

Homecoming – Behind the scenes

I flew 90 to 100 miles per hour on most stretches at the helm of our little green Kia Spectra. My mother in law, bless her heart, holding on to her seat in what felt like a tin can on wheels halfway across this great nation. All in hopes of being on time for our Hero’s homecoming.

Cars were stopped under bridges, others stuck in ditches. I was determined that we were going to get there! A little thing like Katrina was not going to stop us! Just like every other loving military spouse, I was ready. Welcome home signs in the trunk, cute outfits, bills paid, hands clammy, and my heart beating like a drum with excitement!

This was the moment I had intently looked forward to since the moment he left. Until of course, Katrina decided to happen. At this point, her aftermath continued to threaten our mission with every gust of what was left of her angry storms wrath.

Dozens of letters, creative care packages, and sporadic phone calls heavily saturated with the sweetest “I love you’s” later. We were on a mission to shower our new Veteran with so much love and failure was not an option.

I graduated nursing school, closed up our little base house and did the custom move back in with his parents to save up for a house. We were going places. That is what 21 and 22 years old looked like for us. Scared, but strong. Young, naive but focused and determined.

We had a mission and through all the chaos, the mission always remained clear:

“Standby for orders. Receive orders. Support orders. Repeat.

We made it just in time. As the storm settled, I had less then 3 days till boots touched ground. I secured a place, and made a house a ‘home’. With Mama’s help we put the welcome signs up around the gates, and for many years, Mama Meehan and I both forgot about the closeness that we shared with and against the ferocious Katrina.

In fact, somehow the memory of Katrina was almost completely overshadowed by the excitement and satisfaction of finally being back in his embrace.

Aliyah Meehan

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PCSing – Where is Home for Military Families?

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Home sweet home

Like most military families, we spent a few years moving from base house to base house. A good chunk of our time complaining about: rules, regulations, stipulations, expectations etc… Pertaining to our dog, our yard, our trash… Many times my husband would take the time to remind me “Make sure you don’t do that on base Aliyah!”

Needless to say we always spoke of the day that we would leave a base and be ‘normal’.That day finally came on recruiting duty. The military tossed us right into the heart of a very civilian population, with the closest military base located almost 4 hours away.

It was exciting at first, just like every previous relocation had been. New places, new restaurants, new people, little shops and parks to find… However, it soon became clear that something was missing.

My first irritation was the local grocery store specials could never compare to the commissary! There was no base theater, No base gym, pool, or base activities where my family and I were bound to run into military members & families that we had known or met years ago.

Then finally, when My daughter came home after the first week of school and exclaimed in exhaustion mixed with sadness, “Mama did you know that there are people that live in one house their whole lives?! Most of my class has lived their whole lives in one place! I told them that we move cause daddy is in the military, but they just don’t get it!”

At that moment, I held her so tightly. And as she burst into tears, I did the same. That night, the conversation at dinner following us into our pillow talk, focused on all the wonderful things that we remembered about moving to a new ‘base’.

Through conversation, we rediscovered the beautiful relocation patterns and habits that we once mistook for absolute chaos. Finding out the neighbors unit is down the street from Hubby’s, The close knit DOD schools, where every kid was new! The immediate invitations to backyard BBQ’s, party’s and base community gatherings. The speed in which friendships became ‘family’, was obvious, because we all lived under the same 3 – 5 year hourglass timers. No explanations necessary, they just ‘Got It’. We all just ‘Got it’.

That night whispering in the dark, and feeling quite displaced for the very first time, we discovered that at this point in our lives, Uncle Sam could send us anywhere. As long as we were in or around a base, we are “Home Sweet Home”.

Aliyah Meehan

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