Friday, August 12, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Military Family

I came across the following video today and just had to share it. People always ask me what it's like to be part of a military family and it's one of the things I never hesitate to speak about. I'm passionate about being a military brat and feel tremendously lucky to be part of the military community. asked Navy spouses to explain what their every day life is like - what they'd want civilians to know about them and the challenges they face. While I hail from an Air Force family, the words of these inspiring women ring true regardless of branch of service.

Three cheers to for shinning a spotlight on military families and even bigger cheers to the amazing spouses of our military community.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New York Times: Explaining War to Military Children

Today, the New York Times featured a guest blog post on their "At War: Notes From the Front Lines" section that discussed a military wife's experience in explaining war to her children. The post was written by Stephanie Himel-Nelson who works with Blue Star Families, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting military families.

I was pleased to see the post - anytime a military family member is able to share their thoughts with the civilian community it's a positive thing. Most importantly, the military community often has the same undercurrent of emotions as well as thoughts - and hearing someone else that's part of it discuss it out loud validates it and can bring comfort.

I'm not a Mom and I don't have a military husband, but I am a military brat. My father still serves as does my brother. As such, reading Stephanie's words was interesting for me. I'm always an advocate for doing what you feel is best for your family. No one knows your kids better than you do. But as someone who grew up as a brat, I was really happy that my parents told me how it was.

Stephanie is right about military children - we do know more than any other child would about the mechanics of war - but for me, it was comforting to understand all of that. For me, it was a piece of the puzzle. No one but other military kids understood what it was really like to have a parent deploy, or be separated from them for months and sometimes years. No one else knew what remote tours really meant, or why our parent kept a gear bag full of the essentials always at the ready. So for me, it was comforting to know what they have to work with, how they stay safe.

I don't really remember the very instant my parents told me about war, but I always remember open dialogue. As all parents are, I'm sure they were cautious. I'm sure they told me on a need to know basis and more importantly I'm sure there were many times that they decided I simply did not need to know. But the one thing that stayed true is that they were comforting and honest. They would answer my questions. They would listen. And for me, because we talked it about it, it made it less scary.

They always say that fear is of the unknown. I guess in this case I would agree, and because I knew so much it helped comfort me. War and conflict, time in far away places with way too much sand. . . it's just part of the package deal of being a military family. I wish we lived in a world where it wasn't but until then level setting is my advice on the way to go.

NOTE: If you're a military family and you are looking for ways to explain war to the members of your family, The Sesame Workshop has made terrific headway in this area. Check out their Talk, Listen, Connect resources that you can share with your kids.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dept of Defense Photo Essay: Troops Reunite with Families

The Department of Defense has created a special section on their website in support of April as the Month of the Military Child.

While the entire site is wonderful, I was particularly touched to see the photo essays of troops returning home to their families and of our nation's military children.

As someone who has waited for their father to return from deployments throughout her life - to war zones and to not - I think they did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the emotional reunion.

It's a day that military families hope and dream about - long before the military member even leaves. The families' faces and the look on the faces of those children, are so powerful.

Many thanks to the Department of Defense for shining a spotlight on military children and for showing beautiful moments.

*family with heart image by Pix by Marti from*

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 Military Child of the Year Award

On April 7th, five well deserving children received the Military Child of the Year Award from First Lady Michelle Obama at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.

The awards were given to outstanding military children from each branch of the military. Mrs. Obama discussed each of the award winners and their individual accomplishments. Click here to learn more about them.

I was impressed with each and everyone one of them, especially those who have focused their efforts on educating civilians about military issues and lifestyles, but not at all surprised at their efforts. They are military brats after all - - - they're made of amazing stuff.

Three cheers for all of them and for all of the military children stationed throughout the world!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

White House Discusses Importance of the Military Child

I'm so very happy to see that the government and the nation are taking time to recognize military children in America. According to the Dept of Defense, there are 1.7 million American children and youth under 18 with a parent serving in the military and about 900,000 with one or both parents deployed multiple times.

Here's a fantastic video from First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden on the importance of the military child.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Month of the Military Child

I feel like I find a way to work in the fact that I'm a military brat into every post I write. It's in my Twitter bio and my LinkedIn profile. There's an entire section of my Facebook profile dedicated to it. And most importantly, it's in every breath I take.

Being a military brat is a great deal of who I am and even though I'm no longer a child, it's one of the things I work into a conversation when I'm first meeting someone. It's been who I am for as long as I can remember and it sums up my childhood so phenomenally, that it's hard to not use it as my primary identifier.

April is the month of the military child. I don't know when it started, but I'm ever so thankful that it has. When I was growing up, my friends and I used to joke with our parents about how we've "served" too. I remember my father laughing and saying, sure you do kid. But it's true . . . we do. We're shipped off with their boots every two to three years. We represent America every where we go, especially overseas, and our lives are also controlled by the government. We're there waiting for them to return home when they deploy. Yes, we do serve too.

For the record, those were the best years of my life and they are the ones that defined who I am. I'd gladly do it again and then again. It was a great honor to be a military brat and even though I'm no longer a child, I know that deep inside I will always be a military child.

If you know a military child, take time to honor them this month. Even a small thank you - just two simple words - can mean so very much. They sacrifice so much every day, alongside their military parents. Without them, the troops could not do what they do.

To all the military brats out there past, present and future we will forever be united. While the nation honors you this month, we will honor you always.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Outback Steakhouse Supports Operation Homefront

Run, don't walk to your local Outback Steakhouse! This call to action isn't just because their food is super tasty, but because the restaurant chain has announced its commitment to donate $1M to Operation Homefront. How can you help? Order off of their special created "Red, White and Bloomin Onion" menu!

Special thanks to Outback for their generous donation and continued support of military families nationwide. Most importantly, our ending thanks to the Operation Homefront team. The military community recognizes what you do on a daily basis and how you're making an impact in our lives. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.