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And What Said the Military Child?

Sometimes, the words that flow out of my military children’s mouths just have a way of hitting me. A gut punch, saddening me for how they truly feel; an “ah-ha” moment, enlightening me to see into their world; or a rolling laugh over their hilarious observations.


These words stir me into recognizing a perspective I wasn’t yet seeing. And I’m always grateful and humbled by them.


It’s the Month of the Military Child, and I thought it would be special for us to glean from our own military children’s insights. This is a complication of my children’s words, along with several of my military friend’s children’s. 


Said the Military Child on PCSing…..


My littles (ages 5 and 7) casually talking to their friend, “How many houses have you lived in?”

Confused, the friend just smiles and says nothing, so her mom says, “Oh, we’re not in the military. She’s lived in the same house her whole life!”

My children were flabbergasted!

Other things military kids say…..

“It’s okay, we’ll find it when we move.”

“Are we going to live in this house for very long?” 

We are about to PCS and [my son] has been joking about packing his best friend up in a bag and bringing him with us. 

My 3-year-old asked, “Mom, the next time we move, can we move close to Grandma and Grandpa?” and my 8-year-old responded, “We can’t because there’s no Army base there.”

I realized I had answered the question for him at one point too.

“Mommy, where am I from?” More than one child has asked me this even though they all know the different places they were born. But from is different. 

So I reply, “Well, you can say where you were born if you want to. But you don’t remember it there. So you can say where we live now if you like. Or, you can let it be your favorite place we’ve lived, or where you feel the most at home.”

An easy answer for most people; not for the military child. 


Said the Military Child on Military Acronyms and Terminology…..


When we lived in Korea [my husband] participated multiple times in this peninsula-wide training exercise called UFG. [My son] was under age two, so he was in the stage where we sang the alphabet song. One day, he is singing it and sang, “A-B-C-D-U-F-G.” 

“Look! It’s a Lieutenant Colonel!” (Anytime my kids eat popcorn and find a kernel.) 

My husband asked my 8-year-old son to clean up his playroom. “Get your infantry guys off the floor,” [my husband instructed) My son replied,

“Dad, they’re infantry AND calvary. That’s why you have to go to Army school.” (We are headed to Army War College this summer). 

It took forever for my youngest to stop calling every grocery store a commissary. 


Said the Military Child on Deployment, TDY’s and Long Workdays


“It’s just that when you say ‘100-and-something days’ it doesn’t feel like Daddy will be home in a short time. It feels like a long time.”

(My then 5-year-old said when we were changing our countdown blocks during a deployment. She was fighting back tears.) 

Anytime Daddy goes to work, [my 5-year-old daughter] asks, “Is this a deployment, or work where Daddy gets to come home tonight?

My husband recently returned from a 12-month deployment to Africa, and my children know he’ll be leaving a month later for a 3-week course in Kansas. 

They wake up in the morning and ask, “Where’s Daddy?” almost as if his homecoming was in their dreams and they have to remind themselves it was real. 

“He’s here, in the shower,” I’ll assure them.  They don’t see him in the house for a little while, “Where’s Daddy?” they ask a bit panicky. “He just had to run a quick errand, but he’ll be back soon,” I’ll reply. 

If my husband has to leave for work, “Is Daddy going back to Africa?…Did he go to his course in Kansas?” 

The separation anxiety and confusion has been a lot for their little hearts to handle. 

“Is Daddy going to be gone for a lot of days? Or will he be home tonight?” my six-year-old every day when my husband leaves for work.

After reading a book about emotions while my husband was deployed, I asked [my 5-year-old daughter] what emotions she felt about her dad being gone. “I’m proud of Daddy, but I’m also angry and a little sad he’s gone.” 

“Where’s Daddy?” 

“He’s at work. He’ll be back after a lot of sleeps.”

“I don’t like that,” my one-year-old said. This was the first full sentence that I understood him say. My husband has been gone for several days and this was the first time he asked about him. 

“Well, see you Saturday, Daddy!” My then 7-year-old son said to his daddy on a Sunday night. My husband wasn’t going on TDY, but due to his long work hours, the kids were always in bed when Daddy was coming and going every day during the week for work.  

My 6-year-old to my 1-year-old randomly in the van, “Daddy leaves a lot, but he always comes back and he misses us and loves us.” 

When Dad was in Iraq, and we were told his tank got hit by an RPG, I looked at Mom and asked, “Will Daddy look the same?” 

From a now young-adult Army BRAT whose dad was, fortunately, spared from major injuries many years ago.


Said the Military Child on Mid-Tour Leave and Homecoming 


“Daddy shouldn’t even come back home if he just has to leave again.” My 9-year-old retorted one day after I reminded him what mid-tour-leave was going to be like. He was already so over this awful deployment. 

Before my husband came back from a 9-month rotation to Korea (his first deployment that the kids can remember) my sister asked [my son, just about to turn four] what he would do at the redeployment ceremony.

He replied sweetly, “I’m going to jump into my daddy’s arms!” 

When the Soldiers entered the gym that day marching in formation, my son said, “They look like toy soldiers.”


Said the Military Child on Military Family


“My father/mother is my hero!”

A favorite scenario by a young adult military Army BRAT…. “My Uncle is my hero”

“Whose brother is that, your mom or your dad’s?”

“Well, he’s not biologically my uncle. He and my dad were in the military together.” 

“That’s Daddy’s work family.” My 5-year-old seeing anyone in uniform. 

“I’m a proud military brat!”

Sitting in a Starbucks on post, waiting for a friend to meet me, my 2-year-old shouted “Daddy!!” for every male in uniform coming in from a distance.

My husband was deployed, and I think my little guy was just so hopeful that one of them could possibly be his daddy finally coming back. 


Said the Military Child on Retirement


My daughter said even after my husband retired and we bought a house and are settled that “The next house we PCS to has to have a pool.” Even after explaining that we won’t likely move she still has military life on her mind. 

militaryOur sweet dog did not adjust well when we moved her overseas with us, so we had to rehome her.

It was a rough situation.

My husband made it very clear we would never get another pet until he retired and we could be more settled.

Well, we’re getting close to retirement and the children have not forgotten. 

“Daddy said when he retires, we can have a pet.”  

“Daddy, are you retiring soon?” 

“Daddy, how old will I be when you retire?”

So many words, filled with so many feelings.


Dear military children, thank you for helping us see the world more clearly. May we always be reminded of your incredible strength, bravery, and resilience as we help each other grow on this great journey together. 


*For more from Lavaughn, Check out her author page on the Band of Bloggers Team Page.




  • LaVaughn Ricci

    LaVaughn Ricci is originally from Michigan and met her husband while they were both students at Cedarville University in Ohio. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts, and she also studied bible, theatre, and American Sign Language. She is certified in Teaching English as a Second Language. LaVaughn’s husband commissioned in the U.S. Army in 2004, and the two of them overcame a long-distance relationship through five different duty stations and two deployments before they finally married in 2011. Since then, they have been stationed at seven different installations together, have had four incredible children (two born overseas), and have travelled a decent fraction of the world. LaVaughn loves Jesus Christ, being an Army wife, adventuring with her family, musicals, chocolate, chai lattés, and a quality cup of decaf. She is a homeschooling mom who volunteers in SFRGs, PWOCs, and enjoys helping service members and their families whenever and however possible. She would enjoy connecting with you on Facebook.


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