What I Learned as the Child of a Military Member

I remember being woken up, the bright light of the hallway splitting through the darkness of my bedroom. I don't remember the time, but it was so early that the sun had not yet risen. I was hugged tightly, and that distinct smell of his green uniform enveloped me, just as it did when he hugged me at the end of a work day. But this morning was different. As he stepped out and closed the door, the darkness shoved the ray of light back into the hall. I was alone. Since I, a second-grader, didn't have to be at school for several more hours, I laid back down to sleep. My pillow quickly moistened with the tears of a boy who would not hug his father again for months.

My father has been a member of the United States Air Force for my entire life. He has traveled to dozens of locations, both foreign and domestic. Some of my earliest memories include watching test drops at his base, running around a hangar full of planes, and standing with the rest of my family on the runway, waiting for my father to return from a long trip. In fact, it was not uncommon for him to be away for days, even weeks, at a time. Just as these early memories became a part of my life, the lessons I learned as an airman's son became a part of who I am today.

When I say that my father was gone for extended periods of time, remember how long time seemed to crawl during childhood. Months seemed to last a lifetime (mainly because they were a considerable portion of my life up to that point). But this was compounded with the fact that neither of us were glad to be separated. While I acknowledge that I was fortunate to having a loving father who wanted to be in my life, sometimes he couldn't be there. I knew it hurt him to miss concerts or baseball games, and I honestly couldn't have cared less about having him there, but it would sometimes hurt for me just because I knew he genuinely cared and wanted to be there for me. It was then that I understood that it truly is the thought that counts, because that was all he could give at times, and it was all I needed.

There were several occasions that his base would host events for the families of deployed airmen. Husbands, wives, and children shared their experiences, and in their sorrow at their loved ones' absence. We may have been sad, but no one was upset. Somehow, we were at peace with the situation. In that company, we realized that there were purposes greater than any one person. I had learned that giving up my dad sometimes meant that he could help protect the country and help others.

We seem to have the perception that the government is composed of emotionless drones that go about life without regard for anything but their job. While this may hold true for some levels, my father was certainly an exception. He seemed to care about everything. He got elected to the school board, he took pictures for musicals my sister and I were in, and he took me to every scout meeting he could manage. Because of his position on the school board, he was even able to hand me my diploma at graduation. My dad was in the military, but he was my dad first. And surely that was the case for countless other people employed by the government, such as police officers, mayors, and senators. This taught me that I could, to a large degree, trust in the government of my country.

Being the child of someone in the Armed Forces exposes you to things that you would never otherwise understand at a young age. As I slowly begin adulthood, I can recognize and appreciate the sacrifices more than ever. My father has always been there for me, not always physically, but as much as I need him to be. These experiences have even shown that he is within me, too, and that he will be with me, even on the other side of the globe. He loves me, and has shown me to love my country as much as he does. He would never admit it, but he is a hero, and I am proud to be his son.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.


From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments