Being an Army Brat means you are the daughter of a soldier; an aggressive, excessively strict, and demanding soldier. My father was a platoon Sergeant and was titled “Nuclear Chemical Biological Specialist” in the Army. He specialized in the care of all aircrafts and was responsible for the repair and technical inspection of said aircrafts. As a platoon sergeant, he was also responsible for leading a platoon of soldiers when they were called to war in Saudi Arabia. Because of his career my father had an extremely strict discipline routine.
My sister and I were expected to keep our rooms completely clean at all times. Not only could toys not be lying around, but we were also expected to have our beds made and all furniture dusted before 8am each morning. My father would walk into our rooms with a white glove and run the tips of the glove across every shelf, corner, and cove base in our rooms.
By the time I was 6 years old, I knew what a 45 degree angle was, how to properly fold my sheets, and tuck them under the mattress in order for him to perform the “quarter test” every morning. (The “quarter test” is where you follow a strict procedure to properly make your bed. The goal is to make your bed so tight that you can literally bounce a quarter off of it). If the quarter didn’t bounce, our beds were completely disassembled and we started from scratch with a time limit.
Another thing I remember about being an Army Brat was that I never stayed in the same place long enough to make long lasting friendships. I can recall attending several elementary and middle schools throughout my life, whereas most people have one or maybe two that they attended. Every new school meant trying to make new friends with kids that already had “BFF’s”. Switching schools all the time was really difficult on my sister and I. We tried to fit in as best as we could considering the circumstances. And since some other kids were Army Brats as well we were in the same boat, we learned to befriend those children for as long as we could.
When my father was called into war in Saudi Arabia, my sister, my mom, and I cried for days. We knew that there was a chance that our dad would not come back. As strict as he was, he was still our father and we loved him. The war was horrific. My sister used to steal the letters that our dad wrote home to our mom and read them to me. I can still recall some of the gruesome stories that my father wrote about to my mother; things he had witnessed, the living arrangements where he was stationed, the food, water and sleep rations. It was a truly scary time for my father over there, but just as lonely and scary for us while he was away.
The most amazing memory I have as an Army Brat was when he returned home. Sure, he looked different. He had new scars and was extremely exhausted; he slept for almost a week straight once he returned, but he looked genuinely happy to be home and so were my mom, my sister and I.
Even though being an Army Brat was difficult, there were bonuses just about as much as there were headaches. When my father came back from Saudi Arabia (once he had rested) the Army gave him a month’s vacation. During that time we went skiing in the German Alps, visited Belgium, and toured several of the castles in Germany. We even drove all the way to Switzerland and visited several areas there as well. Honestly, we were truly blessed to see and experience everything that we did. I…