Purple up guys! April is the Month of the Military Child; a way to celebrate and honor the sacrifices made by military families, emphasizing on dependent children of military members serving in the states and overseas.
Month of the Military Child is supported by Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy and other organizations such as DoDEA.
Why the color purple? It’s a time where all branches of the military are supported as one; Air Force (blue), Army (green), Navy (blue), Marine (red), and Coast Guard (blue) combined all together as a single color, purple.
Month of the Military Child is celebrated within military communities and military association by having contests, parades, and special events centered throughout the month of April. It is also celebrated externally through schools and other organizations.
Resources are available for military families and children in every base. Programs on coping with deployment, pcsing, or for information about future events is available for them through Military Family Readiness Centers.
Military children have the hardest job in the military life; they’re constantly moving around more than the average person. It’s hard for some children to adjust to a different place, make new friends, new schools. This is a month where military children are gathered around and celebrated for everything they go through.
How did the Month of the Military Child start?
Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was responsible for establishing April as the Month Of The Military Child in 1986, and the Department of Defense has honored his initiative ever since.
The month of April is an important one for children who have one or both parents serving in uniform; since 1986 there have been an increasing number of awareness campaigns aimed at recognizing the needs of military children in all areas from coping with the deployment of parents to war zones to education of military dependents at on-base Department of Defense Dependent School System (DoDDS) campuses around the globe.
Since the debut of the original Month of The Military Child, there are a growing number of activities both on military bases and in local military communities. The U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), which operates 166 schools for military children worldwide, instructs its school administrators to “plan special events to honor military children and have administrators and principals incorporate the themes of this month into their everyday duties and responsibilities” according to the DoDEA official site.
We often don’t say how thankful we are for having our spouse’s home. Of course, there are times that we quickly get annoyed at the fact that there’s one more person we have to add to our to-do list for the day (am I right?), because if you must know, our spouses are more of a hassle than our kids (well, most of the time). If you’re reading this, and you agree, continue reading. For those who serve our country, thank you for keeping us safe. But also, thank you for everything you do for us. See, some of us spouses are not employed, but believe me when I say that we are so grateful to stay home to take care of the kids. The truth is, spouses, don’t get enough credit for what they do, let alone for everything they provide for us. Let’s think about the crazy schedules they work. They have the 12 on and 12 off schedule, the “on call” schedule, the WTI schedule, the duty schedule, we have to stay at work for the hell of its schedule. By the time they’re home, they’re happy to be home, trust me. As much as the kids annoy them, or they come home to a mess, they are just glad to be home. Most of the time, they don’t ask much from us, but a hot plate on the table. Just like you, just like me, we’re often tired when they get home that we try to change roles right away. Just like them, we are tired, we’ve had a long day, hell, we have been sick all day. Not once does it cross our minds that they’ve probably had a tougher day than us? Ask yourself, what can you do to make your spouses evening better? Do you tend to ask how work was? Or ask him/her if there is anything you can do to help him out? Chances are, he probably wants to hang out with you, he’s happy to be home with his family. It’s a given that any man wants to come home to change out of those camis, eat, and relax. Thanking your spouse for what they do every day isn’t often said as much as it should. A simple thank you will make their day. We often complain about how we have it worse than them, but do we? Just like any other military personnel, the last thing they want to talk about is work. Or maybe they’ve had a long day, and they need you to hear them out, they want to vent. As a spouse, it’s important to keep track of how your husband/wife is feeling at the moment. Although we all go through different problems, never forget to ask how they’re doing, and if everything is okay. Respect one another and never let a straightforward argument bring the relationship down. Remember that above being married, you guys are best friends. Communication is the key to having a healthy marriage. Interact with one another, help each other out, look out after one another, and always trust each other. Remember, you ’re both a team. And together, you can accomplish so much. Teach your children what working as a team is all about. Always be there for each other in the good and bad times. The military life is not easy; I don’t expect others to understand this life we live in. But your spouse understands you, your spouse is there for you, thank him/her, and always have that open communication that will help both of you continue to grow as a couple.
Here we are ten years later, sitting on the couch, thinking about the crazy things we have done. From the day we met, I knew we would be more than just friends. A couple of pounds lighter, two immature kids who didn’t know what marriage was all about. I could have told you our life together would be full of adventure the minute we met. Cops were chasing, a night of laughter, turned into a serious commitment the next couple of weeks. You see, I never knew what the “military life” was all about. I didn’t quite understand what I was getting myself into. All I cared about was seeing you every weekend. Sometimes those weekends turned into weekdays. Driving to my house in your little red car was all I could see from my window. Getting off with your Vans shirt, jean shorts, and high top Vans made my knees weak, for I had never seen such a handsome guy in my life. You know, I had met other guys before, but none could compare to you. You were different, your manners were different, and that face, well being from the valley, you looked different. I didn’t quite understand how serious it was until you decided to plan a trip for us to Disneyland. Where you booked a hotel for the weekend so you and I could enjoy ourselves. However, that changed the minute you picked me up from my house that day. News that I didn’t know would change our lives forever. I was able to enjoy Disneyland thanks to you though. You made me feel safe; you protected me, I knew you wouldn’t let me down. Finding out I was expecting was a bit heartbreaking in the beginning not knowing what direction my life was heading. You made everything fall into place by telling me you would be there by my side every step of the day. It happened, and after the news broke, everything happened so fast. You see, many obstacles were thrown at the beginning of our relationship. Some people thought I was stupid, but I stood by your side every step of the way. I had faith in us because I knew we had a future together. It wasn’t for the fact that we had our first child together. It was because I loved you. Sometimes love makes you do stupid things, and sometimes it blinds you so utterly that you don’t see the challenges in it. We have overcome too many obstacles, lies, and challenges that we are now two adults who keep learning from each other’s mistakes. Our families have fought, our families have hit rock bottom, our mistakes have affected everyone, but we somehow come out stronger than before. We have achieved so much in so little time, look at what we have created, three handsome boys who respect us and look up to us. Children than depend on us to teach them the importance of life and success. Who knew we had all this going on for them? For the future of us? We have created all this in ten years. in ten years so much has happened. Between battles, challenges, mistakes, cries, and laughter. We are here; our kids are our future of this family. One day we will look back at all the stupid things we have said and done when we were younger and laughed at the crazy decisions we had made through the years. Because that’s what life is, it consists of life testing your relationship with the other person. When you think you have it all, you don’t. We are humans, but together as a couple, we can overcome anything. It’s a lot like a rollercoaster. There are twists and turns, and some of the hills are scary, but you stay on the ride just to feel the thrill of that fall again. There is no other person I would want to share this ride with. We have built so much together, we have been in it too long to call it quits for a stupid argument. I’m just glad we are able to enjoy our life now how we once picture it to be. Peaceful, understanding, and finally agreeing with one another when it comes to parenting. Together, forever, and ever. Growing old with you is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Hoping one day, our boys will find good women whom they will share the rest of their lives with. I’m in it for the long ride baby, because I am not going anywhere.
Oh, the joys of being a military wife. One day you’re hanging out with your girlfriend when you suddenly get a call. It’s not just a call; it’s THE call. The call you’ve been patiently waiting for, the reason you’ll be stressing out for the next (drumroll) 3 months. Just when you thought you had your life put together, your home, even your job. After all these years, your kids are finally used to their school, they finally have friends in the neighborhood, and well you, you’ve finally made friends. Oh, but it’s not a seasonal friend, it’s family: a group of people you consider family that gets together on holidays and other special occasions. But when your phone rings and your husband gives you the news, it changes everything. For some, it’s a massive weight off our shoulders to finally know where you’ll be moving next. For others, it’s bittersweet. You see, being an adult is sometimes being like a kid. You find your comfort zone, and that makes you put together for the next couple of years. But one thing’s for sure, once you click with certain people, you never want to let go. You have your inner circle, the people you trust, the people who have been there when you’ve hit rock bottom — the people that know your darkest secrets, but also the people that are there to lift you when no one else understands. Your regular friends don’t quite follow you as your military friends do, which brings us back to moving away from the inner circle you’ve loved for the past three years. I recently came across a spouse that recently found out she is PCSing to North Carolina where her husband Beau Gibson will be stationed on Camp Lejeune. Just by sitting down and hearing her story about her upcoming move, made me realize that not only does this affect our families. But as a military spouse, it affects us as well. I messaged Paige Gibson and asked her to meet with me to further discuss her experience from her move from Oceanside, California. To Yuma, Arizona.
MkAnahy: Paige, what was your first thought when you moved to Yuma, Arizona?
Paige: My first thought after finding out we were moving to Yuma, was a bit interesting. I had never heard of the place let alone knew it existed. When my family and I drove into this desert place in the middle of nowhere, I thought “holy crap, this is where I’m going to be living for the next three years? Really? The lettuce fields are cool to look at, but I’m nervous to be here.” As you can tell, I didn’t love it. I loved the house we first moved into, which was in the Foothills, approximately 15 minutes from base. We explored the place and found Yuma’s shopping mall, The Palms, drove around downtown and got passes to the water park which was honestly the best thing we could have done for our family! I got spoiled in Oceanside before moving to Yuma, so it took a few months to adjust to all the surroundings. I then realized my daughter loved her school and her friends and wanted to make it a positive move for her and eventually began to adjust to the area little by little. It’s a small place and easy to get around and to meet my friends here helped me see the good in Yuma.
Mk Anahy: When you got to Yuma, did you make friends right away? And if so, do you still talk to them?
Paige: Yes, well it took two months. My husband’s friend that he went to Intel school with was also PCSing to Yuma but didn’t get here until a month and a half after us. My husband said that his wife and I would get along well and turns out we did! She was my first friend here and still is to this day! I met a lot of couples after hosting BBQ’s and made friends with many cool people. People that turned into my best of friends! I hope they get stationed by us again!!
Mk Anahy: What were some of the challenges you faced while being stationed in Yuma? Was your husband gone all the time? If so did you look for resources to keep you busy? Did you work while being in Yuma? Did your husband’s workplace make sure to include your family in events and up to date with any training your husband had to attend?
Paige: Thinking back, some challenges I had in Yuma, was having to take care of my baby that was only a month old. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with him while I’ve been here. A challenge was having to move on base after living off base for quite some time because the owner of the house we were renting from decided to put his home on the market. I’m so glad it happened because I was now closer to my friends, but I also feel safer living on base. It wasn’t the same for my daughter; it was challenging for her to switch schools. I contacted the school liaison on base, and she helped me narrow down the best school for my daughter to attend. When we moved to Yuma, I remembered the school liaison was a resource provided for the military families. My husband was gone during our first summer in Yuma with training in 29 Palms. Although I knew there were resources out there, I reached out to my friends for help. My husband’s shop was very communicative with the families. We hardly received any information regarding our husband’s training dates or any special events for the families. That was one thing I enjoyed from my husband’s old shop in Oceanside. They took care of the families and provided them with different resources.
Mk Anahy: What is the best thing that happened to you or your family while being stationed here? Why type of bond did you make with your inner circle that your regular friends back home will never understand?
Paige: The best thing that has happened here was my friends! My daughter (who is 10) made some great friends, and so did my husband, son and me. We have a special bond because we share somewhat the same experiences that most of my friends from back home don’t understand. It’s essential to have at least one loyal military spouse to talk throughout all your troubles with the military lifestyle. Being a military spouse is challenging but making friends have someone to talk to, or to have someone to have a few drinks with while watching movies keeps you sane. It also creates some memorable moments with the people you love the most!! Although we faced many challenges, we also learned to cherish the good memories every day and be grateful for the people you meet in your life.