Growing Up Military

My childhood was different than many. I could live somewhere from 10 months to 3 years depending on my dad’s assignment from the United States Air Force. I loved the adventure of it all. Yes, it was hard to always be the “new girl” and yes, it was hard to put down roots only to pull them again, but I loved it. I loved getting to live somewhere new, make new friends, explore new traditions and history -growing up this way greatly influenced my values and interests.

I was born in North Dakota, on a blizzardy day in February no less. I lived in Northern Virginia for preschool. Prior to starting kindergarten we moved to Colorado. I spent third grade in Alabama and moved back to Northern Virginia for fourth grade. The summer before seventh grade took us back to North Dakota and the summer before high school saw us moving back to Alabama. Sophomore year was spent in Colorado and I moved again the summer before junior year to Montana. When I graduated high school the family moved back to Colorado and I chose to return to a different part of Montana for college. The summer I graduated college, my dad retired from the Air Force after 27 years of service. Truly, this life was all I knew.

Montana will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first place I lived by choice. To me, that is such a powerful feeling. My sorority house from college also still stands as the house I lived in the longest consecutively. We lived in the same home both times we lived in Northern Virginia, each time for around 3.5 years, so it’s second to that house on Gerald Avenue. My parents have also been in their house now since 2007, so it’s home too. But growing up it always amazed me (and honestly still does) to know people who have lived in the same house for decades. Knowing that my grandparent’s houses have been their homes since the 1960s is incredible to me – what those walls have seen and the stories each room must hold!

It always makes me wonder if I’ll always have the heart of a nomad, ready to pick up and move at any time or if my husband and I will find a community and put in deep roots ourselves. His family has lived in the same community since before the Civil War – that’s DEEP roots! Will our family start new roots somewhere else or will be wanderers seeking new opportunities and adventures? I hope we find our place to put down roots and build a new story.

One of the best parts of moving around as often as we did and attending 10 schools between Kindergarten and graduation were the field trips. Man, oh man, was I a lucky kid when it came to field trips! The very first field trip I remember going on were in first grade when we had a transportation day and visited the airport, school bus depot and train station – we all thought it was so cool to explore different modes of transportation and learn about them on them instead of at school. The field trips just got better as we got older – museums, hikes, bike trips, camping, canoeing, testing water PH levels on the Chesapeake, visiting Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Philadelphia, Fort Mandan and various historical homes and properties. I got to go on the best field trips over the years!

My husband laughs at my vocabulary and the way I speak, because I picked up phrases and ways of saying certain things in each place we lived.

There is so much good about how I grew up that I wouldn’t change it for the world and I am so thankful to the United States Air Force for giving me the childhood I had and my parents for taking advantage of each new assignment whole heartedly and teaching each of us to do the same!


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