10. Relocating. Some of us actually prefer to stay on the move and want to see as much of the world as is possible. We get antsy if we stay in one place for too long. Living overseas, especially, provides us with opportunities we would not have without the military. Plus, if we don’t like the place we are stationed, we always know it won’t be long before we can move on to the next one.
9. Getting Rid of Clutter. Sure, moving homes so frequently has its downsides, but an upside is that we can take the opportunities to give away, sell or toss clothes, toys, books, kitchen items, etc., each time, rather than let it pile up in corners and in the basement. With such a fluid community, wherever we go, there’s always an opportunity to hold a garage sale, but donating or giving to a friend is easiest and feels the best.
8. Medical Coverage. Military health insurance has its pros and cons, but in my opinion, the positives outweigh the negatives. If we live near a military treatment facility and use its providers, or stay in network using the Prime option, we have no copays! Sometimes it can take a long time to see a specialist, but usually you can make the system work for you to get the appointment. I had four c-sections in four different hospitals, two in the continental US, one in Hawaii and one in a private hospital in China and I only paid $63 in total, and that was for the room when I delivered our first son. It’s a pretty good deal when all is said and done.
7. Military life builds resilience. When we face the adversities of relocation, separation and long deployments, we are forced to build strengths we might not otherwise need. These strengths help our kids grow into strong adults and help us adults evolve into self sufficient, can do anything, people, and it feels good.
6. We build unusually strong bonds with our kids. When one parent is away for long stretches, it leaves an opportunity for the at home parent to grow especially close to the kids. Building a strong personal relationship with our kids, while they are young, can lead to open and honest parent child relationships as they grow. One on one time can lead to a more open dialogue than might otherwise occur. Also, communication with the deployed parent is less frequent but it is intense. Parents and children have no choice but to make quality time out of the minimal quantity. Finally, siblings bond with each other because they are the only friends they have when they move to a new place. This forced time together builds life long invaluably close relationships.
5. We are solidly patriotic. At military post schools, children not only recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning, they also hear the National Anthem each day. As a school teacher, hearing the kids say the Pledge still makes my heart stir- Every. Single. Day. No matter what troubles our country is enduring, it’s still our country and we love it.
4. Our kids get to know extended family on a deeper level. It’s true that we don’t get to spend as much time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as we’d like, but the time we do spend with them is intense because we are usually staying in their homes with them. If we don’t live nearby, we have to make a trip during holidays, and other school breaks, to see them, or they do to see us, and we spend 24/7 with them, which helps to intensely bond the family together. Sometimes, families with young children will spend months with the grandparents while the service member is deployed. Our family spends summers, in the US, with grandparents while we are living overseas. The relationships formed during these times are irreplaceable.
3. People usually appreciate what we do. The fact is, the military takes a lot of criticism, at the water cooler and in the news, but for the most part, civilians seize the opportunity to thank a military member and their family for their service. The appreciation feels good every time.
2. Job satisfaction. Serving our country, either on Active Duty, or as a family member, is an honor. Knowing that our military member is serving our country, a cause for the greater good, makes everything else more tolerable. The job comes first, but we know why and are proud to be a part of it.
And the Number 1 element of military life we appreciate the most is the people. We meet so many people through each new neighborhood, new school, new job, new sports, etc., and some of the people turn out to be our favorite people on the planet. We may only have a few months to three years together, but we work quickly because we have to, and we cement the solid friendships that last forever, no matter where the military sends us. We will travel by planes, trains and automobiles to meet up with friends from past postings, and it’s always like we never left. The connections we form with other military and foreign service families are especially solid and unique. The shared history bonds us forever. All of our close friendships are invaluable, though. We appreciate each one.