Finding Thankfulness in Military Life

Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, bow their heads in prayer in preparation for Operation Atlantic Resolve's Cavalry March, May 13, 2015. Army photo
Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, bow their heads in prayer in preparation for Operation Atlantic Resolve's Cavalry March, May 13, 2015. Army photo

This time of year, social media is flooded with messages reflecting on what it means to be thankful and what folks are most thankful for. You have the normal responses -- family, friends, health.

But while I’m thankful for those things too, just six months after a PCS move, I’m still pretty bummed that the Army has again moved us away from family and friends. And I know, I know, such is the life of a military family and we won’t be here forever. But it doesn’t make the separation easier today. So this year I decided to focus specifically on what I can be thankful for ... military style.

Be Thankful: Military Style

Tricare. As much as I hate having to wake up at 6:45 hoping there is an appointment for one of my sick kids that day, I’m thankful that I don’t have to worry about co-pays and paying for the medicine they might need. I’m also grateful that I have options that are relatively inexpensive compared to what my civilian friends and family pay. 

Movers. I recently had a conversation with my grandma who shared a story that while my grandpa was in the Air Force years ago, the military didn’t pay for their move. She said they loaded down the car, shipped boxes, and once they unpacked the boxes she broke them down and slid them under the bed in preparation for the next move. This sounds like a ton of work! Given the amount of damaged items we incurred this past move, I can guarantee that if I had to move myself, there would be a lot more.

Friends. Once you’ve been stationed a couple places you start to run into familiar faces. And I am absolutely thankful for those friendly faces. Just knowing that there is someone in the area that you can list as your in-case-of-emergency contact takes some stress off. Sure, sometimes I’m jealous of my civilian friends who have had the same best friend for 10 years, but my family gets to see some pretty awesome places while visiting our military friends who are spread out across the country.

Housing. It stinks when you find out your Ikea couch won’t fit in your new on-post housing, or when you need more curtains to cover all your windows, but it’s great to live in a community that understands what military families go through. The kids are welcoming, we are close to the events on-post, and we love that our utilities are included. Plus, who doesn’t want a new couch?

Adventure. Most of the places we’ve been stationed in are never places that we would seek to live in if we were in the civilian sector. Giving my kids the opportunity to live in some of the most diverse environments imaginable allows them the opportunity to experience totally different exposures in each place. I strongly believe it helps them become well-rounded.

I hope you will join me in being thankful for your military life this Thanksgiving. Military life can get you down, but when you look around there is a lot to be thankful for.

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