As a proud member of this group, I hold the term "Military Brat" very close to heart. When asked the question, "Where are you from?" I start with, "I'm a military brat," and the person asking normally always says "ahhh."
Since the age of 5 I've been on the move, moving every two years, or the occasional 10 month period. From West Virginia, to Arkansas Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Hawaii, and back to Kentucky. Our family of 5 plus a 75 lb dog traveling for days on end in two-three separate cars each move was interesting. We had the class military family car topper... haha, if you know, you know. Transitioning from living on post, back to civilian world, and the back to post was interesting. Shuffling three kids into three different schools with different standards for each (either being behind your grade level or ahead), losing friends, making new ones, enduring heartbreaking goodbyes, but developing so many different worldviews that only other brats understand. "See you later."
The last day of school is the best day ever, except when you're a military brat. When you live on post and all of your friends are also military brats... summertime is the season of PCS which means even though it isn't your time to PCS that summer, it is more than likely your best friend or neighbor, etc. I've been on both sides of PCS season, and it isn't fun. You start walking outside in your neighborhood (something you never do) trying to scope out if other kids your age moved in. You stress about your friend group for next year, what will the school be like, how many new kids, anyone you will become close with? I see posts from my civilian friends "best friends since birth," "best friends since 5th grade" and I honestly get jealous. I feel this weird sadness in my heart, and I envy those that have lifelong best friends. Why do I feel like this?
It wasn't until I got to college, that I realized how different I had been brought up.
I constantly have this "itch", a constant need for change and for movement. I cant stay in one place for too long or I get bored. This is probably why at my first semester in college I had to move around my furniture at least one a week. Thinking of staying in KY for college for four years, frightens me. When I meet people at UK and ask where they are from, more than likely the answer is somewhere in KY. Hard to believe that a lot of them have never left the state either. I start to feel bad talking about where I'm from, but why should I feel guilty for my dad's sacrifice to the country giving us the opportunity to travel? The face from others when I say "When I lived in Hawaii," that reaction I get every single time makes me feel weird.
Military brats put on a face, a mask of some sort. When a situation occurs, we know its only temporary and we will eventually move again. The girls I met in Kansas my 8th grade year were horrible and were constantly calling me names and making me feel bad about myself, and I just kept telling myself "you're only here for a year, and you'll never see them again." How does this negatively impact me in my current life?
When I sit and reflect on all of my moving adventures, the best memory I still chuckle at is driving to the airport in Kansas with 25 suitcases and a 75lb lab who had traveler anxiety panting in my face, drooling everywhere. I remember looking out the window thinking, "this is it," "here we go again." Dad went to check in 5 bags at a time, Mom stood by my brother and the other bags while I was taking more bags to my dad. When we landed in Hawaii and had to get 25 bags off of the luggage claim, well, let's just say... interesting. Also imagine this, the rental company had no large vehicles, only a tiny flat bed truck. You can only imagine my dad's frustration after a full 24 hour travel day... haha.