“Where are you from?”
That’s the infamous question that makes any military kid giggle. It still makes me giggle today.
I answer, “How much time do you have?”
I was born in South Carolina, but left at two months old. Since then, I’ve been all over. Literally. My family has lived overseas in the Pacific. West Coast. East Coast (again). And we finally settled in Texas.
As long as I had something to keep me occupied on long car rides, I was golden. I loved being a military kid (for the most part).
Let me share with you the things that I didn’t like so much. I was never a fan of my dad leaving. Also, I’d be lying to say that change was easy. It was a challenge to move from school to school, but I really enjoyed exploring a new part of the world. However, the biggest part that irked me was that the military told you where to go.
Yes, I absolutely love adventure. But, adventure on my own terms!
As a teenager, I voiced my opinion (maybe too much?) that I was done with having the military dictate where we had to go. Luckily for me, my dad was approaching retirement and that meant stability. It was also time for me to start college and I thought I could exercise my own authority in the situation.
My parents taught me that I could do and be whatever my heart wished. If I worked hard, opportunities would open up. Seriously, my motto in life is when one door closes, another one opens.
The first major life change that was on my own terms was my move from Texas to New York.
When I first started my college search, NYU was my priority. Then, I realized how high the tuition is, so there was my first door closing (there was no way I could rack up that much student loan debt!)…then, I received a substantial scholarship from Pace University (also in NYC), so that was the second door opening.
After years of doors opening and closing, I built a pretty satisfying life for myself sans military. I thought I was solid and I had everything that I wanted, ever.
Wondering where I’m going with this?
Well, if I didn’t go to New York, I wouldn’t have met my husband. If my husband didn’t join the military, he wouldn’t have ended up in New York.
My husband accented my life. I was already happy with every aspect about it. At the time we met, I had a place of my own. I had a fulfilling career.
His presence was comforting and that’s when I had the most shocking revelation.
Once his time in New York was up, that’s it. He’s going to have to leave…because the military told him to.
As a former military kid, I did have a better understanding of what military life would bring. It was that insight that actually made it easy to pursue a life with my husband. Yeah, I didn’t like the military dictating where I went. But now, things have adjusted. I consciously made the decision to welcome the military back in my life…on my own terms.
Bring on military life!
If it meant a life with my husband, I was ready for the roller coaster ride. I was able to look up to my military spouse role model for guidance.
I often refer back to my life as a military child because it’s helped me with coping with military-unique challenges. Not every military spouse was a military child, so I now enjoy helping other military spouses navigate through military life.
The biggest lesson I learned as a military kid: we can all learn from each other. We all have wonderful backgrounds that have brought us to where we are today, so why not share your story?
At the end of the day, every hardship tour, PCS, TDY, or any other curveball the military will throw your way is worth it because of the life you share with your service member. Am I right?!
So here I am today, proud of the 22 years my dad served in the Air Force and I’m now proud of the career my husband is building in the Army.
Are you a military kid turned military spouse? What have you learned about yourself?
Corivas Military Living bloggerAbout the Author:
Rachel Tringali Marston is an Army spouse and daughter to an Air Force retiree. Rachel’s family settled in Texas and that’s where she calls home. Before getting married, she lived in New York City for almost 10 years and considers that her second home. Rachel enjoys learning and exploring the area around her husband’s duty station and is embracing life in the military. In her spare time, she shares her adventures on her personal blog called The Professional Army Wife.