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Dear Mom, You gave me the best gift of all. Love, your military brat

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my fellow moms of brats.
Not the naughty kid but the military kind! 

At first, my kids were a little reluctant to use this word but it has really grown on them and, quite truthfully, I think they like the irreverent aspects of tossing the word around.

While the term “military brat” has been around for a long time, there’s something different about being a military kid today. You have to convince the world you aren’t what they imagine a kid might be who has moved a zillion times. Or that you aren’t in a constant state of “as seen on television” moments, as a child who has sent a parent off to war. You may have a different accent from those in your community or do things “different” from everyone else. But you aren’t just a child in a 5 minute teary homecoming reunion. You are an amazing kid. With unique experiences. And wonderful stories to tell.

Be proud! Be you! Your mama wants you to be a brat!

Oh, and go tell her how much you LOVE her. She needs you as much as you need her.

***

One day, when your kids are grown, they may look back and think about this time as an incredible journey. – Chameleon Kids

***

Dear mom,

I hear you. I hear you tell your friends you are worried that all of the moving is making life hard for me. I hear when you talk on the phone to dad when he is far away. You are worried him being away, missing my birthdays, my graduation, my special days, is hard for me. I hear you on those nights, when you think I am sleeping, crying. I know you are worried this life is hard for me.

It is hard for me. But I have you.

You are my rock. When dad leaves, you fold me up in your arms and we cry together. When we face a new school, you hold my hand when we walk in to “figure it out.” When things are hard, you are there. When all I saw was change and trial, I knew one thing: I wasn’t walking through this life alone.

From when I was little, bundled in a snowsuit, frost frozen in my nose from that “arctic” duty station, to when I grew taller than you and wore way too little on the beaches of our new home, you told me about the grand adventure this life brought with it.

Sometimes it was hard to see the good through what seemed like all of the bad stuff the military brought us, but you did it.

And, now, I can see the possibilities that come with change. And that is the greatest gift you could have given me.

You gave me the knowledge that every challenge is not meant to break me but to build me. That sometimes we don’t have a choice except for how we react.

You made me realize that happiness is tucked in the small moments of life. Whether we are curled up on air mattresses together as a family in the middle of a move or thousands of miles apart looking up at the stars talking over a satellite phone, we are together. And there is a good adventure ahead.

Mom, I’m okay. This military life made me who I am. You should be proud. I am proud of you. It has been hard. But you were with me through it all. It made me stronger than I realized I could be. And you were with me all the way.

Love,

Your brat

***

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