When Jeff and I first got married, not once did it cross my mind that we would become a military family.
As adults, we make choices for our futures and our families. Jeff and I don't make any decisions without considering the effects they will have on our children.
Needless to say, making the choice to become a military family was one that took lots of thought and prayer.
When the decision was made, our oldest boys were 3 and 6 years old and our youngest was still in the womb. He was the only one that was born into the military family.
We are not an active duty military family. Therefore, some people may consider us to be "not really a military family." We don't live on a military post, but live in the same house we've lived in since my oldest son was born almost 13 years ago. We have not been relocated, but we have experienced much of what the military has to "offer."
When my husband decided to enlist in the Army Reserves, he was to become a Chaplain. To do this, he had to attend seminary and take about 96 hours of masters classes. He attended CH-BOLC which is basically basic training for Chaplains. He was gone from June to September of 2010. My youngest son was just 3 months old when he left. During that time, we saw him during the Fourth of July holiday and then reunited at his graduation. Still, he continued to take his masters classes. Finally, after what seemed like forever, my husband received his masters in divinity and was officially a chaplain. He attended his annual trainings and monthly battle assemblies/drills. Then deployment. We were fortunate enough to have a short deployment, 6 months. In that time, my boys did extremely well. It was great that we were able to Skype with their daddy and talk with him on the phone as much as we did. We had our routines. They had school and church and sports. Time passed as quickly as it could when a family goes through deployment. My husband was home just in time for summer vacation. We were able to travel and just enjoy being a family again.
I do look at all of the challenges the military has brought to our family and how it has affected our children. I say they have handled things well. My oldest son loves all things military and even speaks of joining when he is older. My middle child doesn't say much about it at all. He is not one to express his feelings much and internalizes things. This worries me because I am a feelings type of person.....just let it all out and express yourself. My youngest is a bit different in the fact that this is all he knows. He is definitely a Mama's Boy and I wonder if it's because he is the baby or because his daddy has spent a lot of time away during his 5 years.