Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Military Brat

I wrote this on my 18th birthday

You know...I never knew I was a military brat. Not until the day I finally knew why we were moving all the time, why Mom would go crazy just to make sure our move can go pretty well. My initial thought was, "This is cool...we get to go on a long trip and see different things." And as I grew older, I grew tired of moving. I wasn't fund of making new friends, new relationships with people on post, new teachers and more. I still remember making an offer to my parents about staying by myself when I was just 8 years old. Obviously, it didn't work.

I can still remember the first time I understood what Dad was telling me when he was about to leave for a deployment. "You got to be good now," he told me "I'm not home so you got to make sure you take care of Mom. You're the man of the house now. Think you can do the job?" And how silly of me, stood there at attention with a serious look on my face. "Yes, sir." And he nodded, gave me and Mom a hug and went off. He came back earlier than he said he would that deployment, I didn’t know why just knew we were finally allowed to go see him at the hospital. I never asked what happened or why Dad’s in the hospital I just did what I was told. When a stranger came into Dad's room and presented him with a medal. I didn't question what it was. I simply did what I was told, to behave when Dad's got company over. I didn't know then but I sure do now.

By now, I pretty much understand what Dad is doing and what being a brat is about. Mom found ways to sit me down and discuss what needs to be done around the house and allow me to finish some of Dad’s work when he’s deployed.

By the time I got to high school, things changed. With football, homework, and chores I thought I couldn't take it all being the man of the house while Dad's gone. But after hearing Mom crying in the bathroom made me realize even when we're not willing or not ready to do something, it must be done. I did what I can after that, helping with the many chores around the house. I wanted to do it all. But plans change, I got hurt. When Dad got home, I was out of the hospital for a couple weeks. I was just getting used to the real world again when he told me, "Son...being the man of the house doesn't at all times require physical strength and ability. Most of the time, it's up here, in your head that counts the most. You're still the man of the house and I trust that you won't let me down. I'm proud of you son."

So being in a family of three was something I got used to long ago. Missing Dad on holidays, birthdays, family movie nights was just another norm of being a brat. But this was the first time I had so much thought running through my head as we drove home after dropping Dad off. Mom said I'm finally an adult and starting to understand more of what it really means to be part of the “military family”.

With Dad deployed more often and most of the time, not sure where. I only come to understand that I'm carrying the military brat title. Being myself everyday and doing what I can for my parents. (Especially my Mom when Dad’s deployed) Guess that’s why I’ve decided to write. To leave my thoughts on paper so I can vent, think, and hopefully be better at being myself, being a son, and more.


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