It’s that time of year again. Where the days are getting longer and a new summer story begins to erupt. Summer is so simple, it’s a time to enjoy the little things in life, like sleeping in on a weekday and the smell of tanning lotion and barbecues while hearing the laughter of the kids splashing around and watching them catch firefly’s in the still of the night.
And while all these great thoughts come to mind when we think of summer vacation. There are so many kids not looking forward to getting out of school for break. Military kids tend to dread it, especially if they or a friend are moving. They know once that last bell rings their time together has come to an end.
Summertime especially can truly be one of the hardest times in the life of the military kid. Simply said, “Saying goodbye is so hard.”
Growing up a military child myself, I always felt such a sense of deep loss when I moved. I didn’t know then, but now I understand that I did go thru the process of loss and I remember thinking I would never meet anyone or make another friend again.
Of course, with time and resilience, I always got over it and built a tough skin for which I am now grateful.
I will say looking back it was hard to keep in touch with friends. With the constant address changes and no modern technology to stay connected it was hard to keep in touch with friends. Sometimes, letters written to friends came back to me as “Return to Sender” or “No longer a Resident.” It was very disheartening.
Since I lived through the life my kids are now living through, I see myself in my mother’s place and my children in mine. I realize how hard it is not only to keep myself together but also my children.
So, in keeping the summer positive for them as the year wraps up, I try to keep them focused on staying connected and looking forward to the next time they will meet again. Even thought we will never know for sure when that next time would be.
We have adopted a few things from my childhood and some new things to keep staying connected fun and easy.
Journal I know this works for my kids. I get them a cute new journal and send it to school with them to get contact information from teachers or friends. So, they can plan to be pen pals. This is not only good to keep in touch and look forward to getting mail, but also helps the kids to keep working on penmanship and writing throughout the summer. In this day and age a little pen to paper could be good for the soul, RIGHT??
Create a photo album. Print out all the photos from the year and put them in an album or create a collage. My daughter actually has a wall collage above her bed of all her friends from different places we have lived. We print and staple them…it looks really cute.
Have a moving/farewell party. That way who ever is moving will have a great party to remember most of all and go with a bang. There’s nothing like pizza, music and laughs to cheer anyone up.
Also, parents should exchange information like phone numbers or connect on Facebook. If kids are older they can stay connected by exchanging phone numbers themselves. This allows them to text and FaceTime so they can catch up from time to time.
In this life of constant emotional ebbs and flows for Milkids, it’s good for them to feel like a part of the process rather than just going thru it and expecting them to just deal with the changes. Some of these suggestions will help them cope with their feelings as well.
And I know YOU, just like ME, want to set your MilKids up for success any chance you get. Having them participate in some aspect of moving and give them some form of control will help them thrive not only during the summer, but also in LIFE.
So, whether your staying or going this summer. I wish you a Happy & safe summer!
About the Author:
Moni is a proud Puerto Rican Air Force Spouse and mother of 3 brilliant children, that has found time as a SAHM to finish her Bachelors in Public Relations. She has moved over 13 times as an Army brat and now an Air force MilSpouse. This has allowed her to see things from different views. During her husbands last deployment, she was inspired to write about her military lifestyle from a candid, sassy, bold and witty perspective. She hopes that by sharing her experiences that it will encourage other spouses to find their voice in this journey of constant change and uncertainty……all this has been accomplished with buckets of prayer, glasses of wine and a few colorful words.