Kids complain. A lot. About everything. Mom, I’m bored. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I don’t want to leave the park. My legs are broken and I can’t walk another step. I don’t want to do this, that or the other.
It’s not always easy to teach young children to carpe diem and embrace the moment. Okay, well maybe it’s easy for them to embrace that moment you let them loose to jump into the pool on a hot summer day or dig into a heaping bowl of ice cream or snuggle under the covers for family movie night.
But what about those moments that aren’t inherently filled with joy? Like watching their favorite toys being packed away for an unspecified period of time. Or sitting on an airplane for 12 hours only to get off in a strange place with strange people. Or walking into a new school. Or saying good-bye to Daddy again. Those are the tough moments, the times when even adults would find it hard not to complain.
Our military kids do these things and more all the time. And while they’re in the moment, right smack dab in the middle of packing or moving or saying good-bye, it’s definitely not easy to find the silver lining, the long-term value of the experience. In that moment, it just stinks.
That’s why, as a mom of two military brats, I find reassurance in this week’s quote, words that provide insight not just for us as military spouses, but a tidbit of wisdom we can pass along to our kids from someone they already love and trust: Dr. Seuss.
I think back to my son’s sadness and confusion as he said good-bye to a fellow MilKid who was moving away. But then months later he was able to recall that moment as he welcomed a new student into his class at school because he remembered that “it’s hard for kids to move.”
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” ~Dr. Seuss
As my kids get older, I’m seeing examples of this more and more. Even something as simple as eating dinner at a Japanese restaurant and listening to my kids drop some Japanese words and use proper chopstick etiquette reminds me that those little moments that may be tough or challenging or seemingly insignificant in the landscape of my kids' military experiences, will one day string together to teach them valuable life lessons.
They just don’t know it yet.
So this month as we celebrate the Month of the Military Child and all the reasons why our kids are so special, I’ll try to stop worrying so much about how military life is affecting my own kids. I'll remind myself that everything military life offers them is a learning experience, that even when they're stuck in one of those more challenging times, they'll realize the value of that moment one day when it becomes a memory. And that's just one of the many reasons our military kids are amazing.