The Month of April is the Month of the Military Child. Every Monday throughout the month I’m hosting Military Monday here on the blog.

I never could have imagined anything more challenging than being a military spouse. But then I had kids and became a mom of military kids.

I chose to become a spouse, to live this life. I signed on for it, committed to it, I understood what that meant for me. But my beautiful children did not.

They haven’t had a choice when it came time to say goodbye to friends. Then make new ones and say goodbye all over again. They haven’t had a choice to leave schools and teachers they love. They never had a choice when it came time to hug Daddy goodbye.

But they do it, and it is gut-wrenching hard to watch them because while they don’t know any different, I do.

One of the hardest moments I have had as a mom of military kids, was a few years ago at my oldest daughter’s back-to-school night. The students had all written letters to their parents and as we enter the classroom the letters were on their desks. (My husband was deployed at the time and had been all spring and summer.) As I walked around the classroom, looking for my daughter’s desk and letter, I couldn’t help and notice all the other students letters. They were addressed;  Dear Mom and Dad, with loops and hearts, To Daddy and Mommy with dark pressed pencil font.

When my eyes landed on my daughter’s, slightly slanted penmanship, my body stopped. It read plain and simply: Dear Mom. I cried right then and there, in the middle of the classroom. In front of all the other moms and dads. I didn’t hold it back either, I blew my nose and ugly-cried for everyone to see.

I cried because my sweet seven-year-old knew I would be the only one there that night. She knew what to expect: Dad was gone, Mom would come. She knew other dads would be there but hers would not because he had a job to do, a job  that kept him away in order to keep others safe.

This is what astounds me about our military kids, they do these hard things without having a choice. Without, many times, knowing any different but they do it. And they keep doing it.

I learned that day, that while my daughter may not always understand, or know any different from the lifestyle we live, she understands the importance of what her Daddy does. And for me, the mom of that military kid, that realization makes it just a tiny bit easier to ask her to continue to live this life.

My daughters welcoming their Daddy home after an 8 1/2 month deployment.