Saturday, April 6, 2013

April ... Honoring Our Military Kids

Our Little Warrior Princess - March 2012

April has been set aside as the month to recognize our military children for their sacrifice to our country. They have either one or both parents who serve in our military to protect the Constitution of our great country. Some of them have been through multiple deployments whereas some parents may have only served stateside. But whatever the situation is or has been -- they are our young patriots.  So when I say 
"Thank You", I know it is certainly not enough for all these children experience.  There's so many aspects of being a military child that I just cannot imagine ... and here's just a few:

I cannot imagine ... 
  • having a parent who is deployed to another country and is away for an extended period of time -- 6 to 18 months, possibly longer
  • not having the opportunity to talk with the parent daily or possibly even weekly
  • worrying whether they will come home alive, wounded or not at all
  • not being able to celebrate special days with them -- birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, church & school activities, community events ...
  • not knowing when the next phone call will be, if the parent is in a location that phone calls *can* be made ... or if they can video-chat, or correspond at all due to security
  • changing schools so often as their parents get re-assigned and relocated
  • the challenges of making new friends every 2 to 3 years ... while staying in touch with the friends that have "just been made"
  • getting acquainted with new teachers and school personnel ... and always being the "new kid" trying to find your place in school activities and programs
  • getting "comfortable" ... then starting all over again
I have, however, experienced some of these aspects with my grandchildren:
Lucy (who is now 4 1/2 years old) made her grand appearance into our world on September 23, 2008.  Her Soldier-Daddy was enroute about 9 hours away from home & got to the hospital about 20 minutes after her birth. (I was in the room with Mommy during her natural birthing of Lucy Michaela).  He spent a couple of weeks home, then was back to his duty-post to complete his assignment.  On the day Lucy turned 3 years old (2011), her Soldier-Daddy was completing one phase of training for his upcoming deployment, but he made a special phone call to wish his Warrior-Princess a Happy Birthday.  Then Christmas came & Soldier-Daddy was deployed. 

"Welcome to my world, Baby Brother"
Then February 9, 2012 came ... Lucy's little brother Thomas Alexander "Tag" made his grand entrance (this time Grandad was holding Mommy's hand during the natural child birth).  Soldier-Daddy was in Afghanistan, but was able to make a phone call to talk to Mommy & Lucy after Tag's birth.  Lucy & Tag celebrated their Mommy's birthday on February 13, then on February 20 (their Daddy's birthday) ... 

Lucy waiting to see Daddy -- Tag waiting to meet Daddy
"The" phone call ... Soldier-Daddy had been severely injured in an explosion.  (For more details, I have several posts from late-February 2012 and links to my daughter's blog regarding the explosion and forward).  Lucy at 3 1/2 years old and Tag at 11 days old ... military life took another turn on these little ones.  Lucy handled the situation in a manner that most of us adults couldn't even imagine -- seeing her Daddy for the first time since his injuries (6 days afterwards) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center ... weekly traveling back & forth to the Walter Reed campus and staying at the Fisher House with her Daddy, Mommy & baby brother then back to home with Grandad & me. Lucy saw first hand what wounded soldiers go through.  Thankfully her Daddy's injuries were (and still are) recoverable ... some wounded warriors experience amputations, severe traumatic brain injuries, incapacitating diseases, and the list goes on.  

Lucy told Tag she would see him in a few days back at the Fisher House
Lucy inspired a personal post that you can read by CLICKING HERE ... Sometimes I Forget ... and sometimes I believe all military children can fall under this same category.  Unless you personally know a military child or was one yourself, you simply cannot imagine what they sacrifice for our country. These children grow up much faster than their ages reveal.  They serve all of us alongside their parents -- 
and yes, both parents sacrifice when you're a military family.  

Tag ready to meet his Daddy at WRNMMC
Baby Ariana was 2 months old when her Marine Daddy became our nation's hero ... she will never know the warmth of his arms, the sound of his voice singing her a lullaby or his concerns when she becomes a teenager.  Baby Chloe was just a few months old when her Daddy became the fourth quadruple amputee to survive his war injuries.  They learned to walk together -- her for the first time, and her Daddy with his new prosthetic legs.  There's always videos circulating around Facebook and other social media of surprise homecomings set-up especially for military children by their deployed parents -- and their tears, excitement & joy is just so overwhelming to experience.

Lucy is a very patriotic Little Warrior Princess
So please, remember our military children in your prayers ... and I encourage everyone to take a look at some non-profit organizations that are established just for the sole purpose of giving back to our military children.  If you need a few places to start looking, please let me know.  Because it takes a family effort -- the service member, their spouse (if married), their children (if they have any), and other family & friends.  Their service isn't just for a designated month ... they're in it for the duration.

I love my military kids -- my grandchildren.  And I'm very partial to all of our military children. 
Their sacrifices do not go unnoticed.  

Tag with Daddy's American Flag & Purple Heart Medal

Happy Month of the Military Child ... 
"Thank you" just isn't enough to show how much you are appreciated for the sacrifices you make for each of us ... 
We honor you not just for the month of April ... 
but always.  

The day Daddy, Mommy & Tag came home for good.

We Love Our Military Kids!!!!

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