What it's Like Being the Daughter of a Military Parent
An Explanation of Being the Child in the Military
Often times when I tell people that I have only lived in Georgia for nine years, they are surprised that a person as young as myself hasn't lived here my whole life. Well that's because I am the daughter of a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. I am also the granddaughter of a Lieutenant General (3 Stars) in the US Air Force. I have moved around a lot since I was born. My dad has moved even more times than me. I have been one of the more fortunate people to have at least lived somewhere for more than two years.
On top of people asking me why I haven't lived here my whole life, people also like to assume that I have had a very uniformed strict life, or they assume that I'm shy or different, because I don't really have as much time to make friends as other people my age. Well, I'm here to tell you that absolutely none of that is true. Being a dependent of a military officer, I have had so many opportunities to see the world, make new friends, and try new things. Yes, I have moved a lot, but in the long run it has definitely made me a better person.
Myth #1: I had a organized, strict upbringing.
While, yes, this is somewhat true, it doesn't mean that my dad went around the house with a white glove making sure it was clean. It was okay if I didn't make my bed everyday or if I spilled something on my shirt. I was never yelled at for making a mess or not getting an A+ on every test. My dad chose to put family over work and he ensured that my brother and I were taught properly and were good well-rounded kids. Growing up in a strict environment meant I had chores and homework that I wasn't allowed to put off. I was held to higher expectations than some kids. I was expected to get good grades and be respectful of my elders. What some people don't understand is that the expectation I was held to wasn't that I had to be a straight A student, involved in all the academic classes, taking the hardest courses, involved in sports or music. It meant that I was never allowed to leave the house a mess (I ALWAYS had to look nice). It meant that I had to use yes sir or no ma'am to everyone. I was to be respectful always. I was never allowed to be late. I was never allowed to quit anything I started. Fortunately for my parents, I was a smart kid and I got involved in chorus and music. Sports was never really my thing, haha! The worst part about growing up in a strict household was that I always had to eat dinner at promptly 6p and be in bed by 9p. And I was forced to do that until I was 17.
Myth #2. I am a shy person, because I never had the chance to make friends long enough.
TOTALLY, 100% FALSE. I have had more opportunities to make friends than most people are given. I have friends in every state I've lived in that I still keep in touch with and I have family all over the country. I am most definitely not a shy person. If anything, moving around as much as I have has made me an even more outgoing person, because I did have to make new friends everywhere I went. I am not the kind of person to sit in the corner. I can make friends anywhere I go and I firmly believe the only reason I can do that is because I've changed schools at least seven times.
Myth #3. I don't have a father figure in my house, because he's always deployed.
While this might be true for some service members, it is not for me. When I was younger, my dad worked a lot and was gone a few weekends in the month, but he was still home about 75% of the time. And he was almost always there when I woke up in the morning and almost always there to tuck me in at night. My mom spent most of the time raising us during the day, but there were more days in the month that I saw my dad, then the days I didn't. Not all service members are lucky enough to do this, but I can guarantee you (and have witnessed it firsthand) that those members with families make a 100% effort to see their families as much as they can, even if it's on Skype or FaceTime.
Myth #4. My dad must be loaded because he's so highly ranked.
Yes and no. My dad is very smart with his money and the military really helps set up plans and goals for service members. The government doesn't pay nearly what service members deserve and that is my personal opinion, but I have been fortunate enough to never be without.
One of the biggest things that I see is veterans living in the streets with no family, no food, or no money. These people dedicated their lives and put themselves in the line of fire to ensure that we have a safe place to live. The way the government and society treats them is a disgrace to our country. I am a proud daughter/granddaughter/niece/cousin/friend of an entire family of service members and I can't say that enough. I tell everyone!