How We Leave Our Mark In Military Life

I have two boys.They are 11 and 9.They make a big mess.

I am only one person.I am old enough to know I shouldn't have to pick up for able bodied boys.I bitch and moan about their mess.

Last year before we moved, I walked past their room and my breath was taken away.  No, not because of some unidentifiable stench.  I stopped dead in my tracks because of what I saw.  There, on the door frame, were height marks written in pencil.

Their height marks.

I cried.

This was not something I or my husband knew of, let alone orchestrated.  This was all them.  And since it was a base house, those precious recordings were painted over within the week of our clearance from quarters.  I didn't know about the marks, mainly because I tried to avoid their side of the house, or when I was on their side, I was too busy bitchin' about the previously stated mess.

My boys, who have lived in seven houses, took it upon themselves to leave their mark.  I pictured them laughing and giggling, maybe raising up a bit on their toes while the other was lining the pencil on the top of their head, and then the transcriber saying, "My turn, my turn."

And never telling us.

I think about traditions of childhood my boys might be missing.  What else haven't we done for them?  What other experiences, no matter how small, might we have unintentionally skipped because of moving with the military?  About six years ago, we had purchased a strip of wood with the sole intention of making it purty and using it as a mobile measuring stick, nailing it to each and every doorframe and then taking it with us, house by house.  When we moved four years ago, we discovered that strip of wood forgotten in a corner of the garage, warped from heat and time. Without a mark on it.

I was affected by those pencil marks and reminded of how they are still so young.  Young enough to want to be measured.  Young enough to think they might get into trouble for writing on the walls so kept silent. But old enough to want to leave their mark for when we move yet again; it was their way of saying, "We were here."

What could I do now?  The big things in life are easy.  It is the little things in life that I need to slow down and take the time to experience with my boys so that they know their momma cares.

Because I want to leave my "I was here" mark, too.


Heidi is an Air Force wife, mother of boys, and has been blogging for four years.  She was an athletic trainer in her "past life" and finds that her prior profession of working the sidelines of football games has adequately prepared her for working the sidelines in her day to day military spouse life and enables her to deal with just about anyone.  



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