Eleven deployments, eight mailing addresses, and exactly 3,492 school emergency contacts made by knocking on new neighbor doors and begging them to be BFFs. It's finally here- that day our family turns in the combat uniforms and adopts the "R" word we have all heard so much about in this life. No, sweet Padawans who have all grown up inside the land of MFLCs, unit chaplain briefings, and Military One Source resources used to comfort us all... not resilient.
This is the only life this service family has ever known. And although we know the call to active duty has challenged us in ways we had never imagined, at the end of this journey, all of us are beginning to recognize that it is because of these challenges, not in spite of them, that our family has had the privilege of coming out better on the other side. Stronger.
Five ways kids use their superpowers to strengthen their families while a parent is away.
ONE. EMBRACE awkward, and laugh a lot.
There are a whole lotta things not funny about this life, including the sacrifices every member of the family makes. Laughter in misery unites the troops. Want to make a service member's day? Dramatically re-enact such home front disasters in the form of song or poetry via Skype.
TWO. DON'T just keep mom or dad in the loop- have a blast dragging the away parent through it.
For nine months, we carried a life-sized cardboard cutout for our soldier, whom we just called Flat Daddy, everywhere we went. Our solider relished the pictures of the adventures he had enjoyed in 2D version on the home front.
THREE. SHARE a heart for service.
While service members serve our country on the front lines, family members have this beautiful opportunity to serve our communities here at home. The actual acts may look different, your soldier is probably not running lemonade stands to raise money for orphan care, but the heart- offering ourselves sacrificially out of love for others- is the same.
FOUR. CAPITALIZE on long-distance conversation.
When you only get to speak to your loved one once a day, week, or even month, words become even more important. The opportunity to use them in new, profound, and fun ways becomes a great way to break the "I'm fine" rut and truly strengthen your bond.
FIVE. RELISH the opportunity to choose joy.
While happiness is a response to a stimulus, joy is a choice-and in this military life, it's often one we get the opportunity to make. Every. Single. Day.
What a privilege we have to walk through this messy-beautiful military life. TOGETHER
Read the full article "Five Ways to Strengthen Your Family While a Parent is Away" by Michelle Cuthrell + Photography by Lola Vargas, in Volume I of Legacy Kids Magazine.
Legacy Kids Magazine | An Empowering Take On Military Life
Legacy Kids Magazine is a new annual publication for military children of all ages. Each volume is full of inspiring stories, artwork, and hands-on activities centered around resilience and bravery. This lovingly-crafted publication enables military kids to use their own creative voices to empower, enlighten, and uncover the truths about growing up in an unconventional lifestyle.
After spending time with Volume I, you and your child will walk away feeling inspired and empowered to embrace this lifestyle from a new, positive perspective.
How do you strengthen your family while a parent is away?