(Audio Version down below) I have always heard about the sacrifices military children make, but I am just starting to understand what this looks like. I figured I would not have to worry about this for a few more years since my boys are only two and one, but in these last couple of months I have seen how military life has affected my oldest son Ezekiel. Chris has been gone since the beginning of July. He then came home for a day and a half, and then left to Florida for Navy Recruiting School. He will be gone until the beginning of September.
My husband Chris and I chose this life almost eight years ago, but our kids have been born into it. For those of you that know me, I always have a positive attitude, especially when it comes to military life. Positivity and perspective is how we have been able to push through the hardest times as a military family. When Chris is home we are focused on cherishing that time and filling our space with love and gratitude for all the military does provide us. We accept the challenges and realize that it is part of our role as a military family. Chris has missed most of our wedding anniversaries, my College graduation and many birthdays but I always understand and make the most of the situation. He was not home for either of my pregnancies and never went to one appointment with me. I was a little sad at times but coped well because I am used to this life. I am mindful to remain positive through the tough times and recognize that this is part of my role as a military spouse. The most difficult concept for me to grasp thus far as a military family, is that my boys are sacrificing so much and they don't even realize it. Chris missed Zane's first birthday last month and it was honestly a very difficult day for me. I stepped away and broke down in tears in the laundry room while my best friend held me and told me that my feelings were valid. Zane did not know any better, but I did...and it made me sad for him. Not only that his Dad was not there, but it made me sad that Chris was missing out. The reality is that Chris is going to miss many significant moments in the boys lives, including many firsts. I know moments and events will happen where the boys are devastated their Dad is not there. It is up to me to communicate well, stay calm and positive and make it special for my boys, while including Chris in every way possible. Ezekiel has made it very obvious that he misses his Daddy but since he is not able to communicate that, it comes out in his behavior. He has regressed in a couple of areas such as sitting down for meal times and staying in his bed during nap and bed time. Some days are very challenging and he has many moments of frustration, fits, and tears. It has been really hard for my mama heart to watch. We talk about Daddy being away. When he was out to sea, I would say Daddy is on a... and Zeke would say, "boat!" Now I say Daddy is at... and Zeke says, "school!" I always tell him how much Daddy and Mommy love him and that Daddy misses him and is so proud of him. I have been focused on coming along side of him and supporting him in these big emotions while keeping a positive and fun atmosphere in the home. Some days are harder for me than others, but I am working on giving myself grace. I am already so proud of my boys for how resilient and happy they are through it all. They truly find joy in everything, even on difficult days. It inspires me to stay strong and continue to encourage my husband in his career. I will continue to share as we navigate parenting as a military family, in the hopes that it provides encouragement and support to other military families, while also providing perspective for non-military families.
Thank you all for the constant love and support for The Family Simon, it truly means the world to us.