One mom just perfectly summed up the struggles of being a military child, and her heartfelt words are going viral for all the right reasons. Grab a tissue, dear reader, because this one's a real tearjerker.
In an open letter originally featured on the Hampton Roads Moms blog and recently shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page, the mother addressed her two children, who have grown up coping with having a father in the military.
"I would argue on your behalf that being a military child is the toughest job in the military," she wrote. "You're the only one who didn't choose this life. Your dad chose to enlist, I chose to marry him knowing that we were facing a tough road ahead. But the two of you had no say." She then offered some words of praise for her son directly, before moving on to do the same for her young daughter.
The writer described how her son was "lucky enough" that his father was present for his first year of life but how those bedtime tuck-ins from Daddy came to a halt when the boy was 14 months old and his dad was deployed.
"I'll never forget your daddy rocking you the night before he left and reading 'My Sailor Dad' to you," she wrote. "Your dad and I both cried. We didn't know what you would understand, or how you would handle Daddy not being around. I'll never forget the way you cried when we left Daddy on the boat and how you clung to his neck saying 'Dada' over and over again. My heart hurt for you. How do you explain to a toddler that their Daddy is leaving for a reason they are too small to understand?"
Though the first few weeks were "rough," the mother wrote how the duo managed to adapt to life without the father around, staying connected via FaceTime. She also noted how proud she was of her son for dealing with their new lifestyle. "There's still a long road ahead of us, but your dad and I know you will continue to handle every challenge in a way that will [make] us proud," she wrote.
Next the mother moved on to address her daughter, who immediately learned the hardships of being a "military brat" the moment she came into this world. "Your dad returned home from deployment in time for your birth, only to be called away for a training exercise and having to miss you being born," she wrote. "It broke both of us that he couldn't be there to see you make your grand entrance into the world, but we outwardly addressed the mantra of 'it is what it is.'"
The writer went on to discuss how her husband was concerned their daughter would never forgive him for not being present for her birth - and she immediately quelled those concerns. She wrote:
The night before he left, your dad asked me if you would ever forgive him for not being there. And I knew he wasn't just talking about your birth. He was talking about all of the things in your life that he's going to miss. Birthdays, school dances, soccer games. Things your classmates fathers will be there for, but he won't.
I reassured him that you will. Both of you will. Growing up as military "brats" is going to be hard. There will be challenges and you will have to find strength within yourselves to keep moving forward. Your father has bravely chosen to answer the call to serve his country, and his choice will impact you in ways we never planned. But always know that together or oceans apart, we're exceptionally proud of our military children.
Excuse us while we use an entire box of tissues to wipe away our tears.