When You Give A Girl A Soldier

When You Give A Girl A Soldier

My dad was Army Strong way before he was a father.
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My dad enlisted long before I was born, he was Army Strong way before he was a father. That doesn't change the fact that he's a pretty tremendous dad, as far as dads go. In fact, it's probably one of the reasons he is so great.

Dad's been military since he graduated high school. He went to the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, retired as a CSM from the Army National Guard in 2015, and even works for the Army Corps of Engineers as a civilian.

Being in the military and experiencing war is something that takes a massive toll on everyone who has done it. I grew up having experiences that I didn't fully understand because my dad is a combat veteran. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I learned why we didn't go to places with big crowds growing up and why our trick-or-treating adventures were always cut short. Once I learned that my dad struggled daily, I became a lot more considerate as a person.

Dad and I have always argued... mostly because we're exactly the same. Mom tells stories of us fighting when I was just learning to talk because we both had to have the last word. I'm not going to lie and say that this has changed at all since we've gotten older, but it's definitely made us closer.

Dad's a total badass, and he wants to make sure that everyone knows it. He was born to be in charge and, for some reason, people love him for it. I've always admired his leadership, even as a kid when I didn't understand it. When he came home from Kosovo when I was 14, I began to realize how awesome it was and how hard he'd always worked in the Army. When his unit shuttled off of the busses, Dad was the one to give a speech commending the unit for their hard work and welcoming everyone back to the states.

Growing up with an Army Dad, who often compares himself to The Great Santini, made me strong. I grew up with a respect for those who serve our country that was stronger than the respect many adults have now. I learned to be an analytical thinker.

I was taught to be aware of my surroundings and to be prepared for anything that was thrown my way. I know how to respect others and how to love those who were closest to me.

Dad is one of my best friends, no matter how much we fight or how often we see each other. The experiences I've had with him, both as a dad and as a soldier, are invaluable. I am now and will always be a proud daughter of a soldier. And a proud Army Brat.

Cover Image Credit: Leigh Anne Hardwick

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why I Appreciate My Parents So Much

This is for my two biggest supporters.

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One thing I've noticed, the older I've gotten, is how much I appreciate my parents.

We've become so close, it's almost funny to think at one point I looked at them so much differently. When I was younger, my parents were much more strict than they are now. They disciplined differently and didn't let me do certain things. The older I've gotten, the more freedom I've gotten, which is one big sigh of relief.

My parents are such great people. Throughout my whole life, I've always had friends of parents or people who know my parents tell me how great they both are. I'm so blessed to have been raised by them and to have gotten their characteristics.

My mom is so loving and generous, and she thinks of literally everyone else in her life before herself. She's smart and funny, and she is always there when I need someone to talk to. She's taught me how to be courteous, kind, funny (with her sense of humor), and most importantly, accepting towards others.

The older I get, the more I realize how similar I am to her. She's my favorite woman in the whole world. We understand each other.

My dad is a thoughtful, hilarious, wise, and helpful guy who has taught me so many lessons throughout the years. He always makes sure my finances are in order, even more than I do. He keeps me laughing with his funny stories and made-up songs that he sings. He always asks me how my day was every time I walk through the door. He is so adorable and thoughtful, and I'm so happy I got his wit and humor.

His smile lights up a room and I'm so happy I've been hearing his laugh and will continue to for the rest of my life.

Another great thing about my parents is that they've taught me what love looks like. They're so loving, kind, and patient towards each other. I've rarely ever seen them fight in my life. They still treat one another how they did when they first started dating. I have friends and know people whose parents aren't together, and I'm so lucky to say I can't imagine what that's like.

My parents complete each other; they are soulmates. I'm so lucky and appreciative that I get to have the honor of watching their love play out throughout their lives.

I'm so happy and thankful that these are the parents I ended up with. They're the best. I hope to be half of my parents when I become a parent myself.

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