If there is an upside to packing up and moving around the globe every few years as military families do, it’s this: Those kids of yours who bicker and fight, but beg to sleep in each other’s rooms. That’s the power of the unmatched sibling bond of military kids.
Siblings in all families bond over shared experiences under the same roof. Nobody else in this whole world knows you and shares your stories like your siblings. But military kids — that’s a next-level sibling bond. There are many ways military kids bond with their siblings differently than their peers, here are five of them.
They Experience Moves Together
They’ve ridden in the backseat together on your cross-country moves, schlepped in and out of hotels, and spent 10 days in temporary base housing. Your kids who might usually get on each other’s nerves are suddenly aware of the situation. They miss their old life and realize it might be weeks before they actually make a friend, so they might as well start buddying up with their brother or sister. Who else can they talk to while mom and dad are busy scrolling through Zillow and Great Schools?
Even though he teased her all morning, your son will grab a chocolate doughnut for his sister from the hotel breakfast buffet because it’s her favorite. Yeah, they know they’re in this military life together and might only have each other for a while.
They Hold Each Other’s Memories
Military life is an adventure, and your kids are living it together. Remember that time the moving truck was delayed and your kids slept in sleeping bags on the floor and played hide-and-seek in an empty house because their toys hadn’t shown up yet? Your military kids do. Those crazy times we want to forget because they were hard for us moms and all we wanted was a break, are remembered very differently by our kids. They’ve made the best of each location, whether it was starting a school as new kids together or struggling with a language barrier overseas. Their common experience will cement their military sibling bond for a lifetime.
They Overcome Hardships
All military families deal with duty days where a parent may miss dinner, a dance recital, or a soccer game. Add in deployment or an injured parent, and military kids often have to step up and help out more than usual at home. Your 10-year-old son knows it’s his responsibility to add oil to the family car and take the garbage to the curb every week while dad is away. Your daughter can be found rubbing your back at the end of the day when you’re just so exhausted. Your kids know more is expected of them during tough times, and they pull together to keep the household going.
They’ll also never forget the times they got to eat ice cream for dinner and watch unlimited movies because mom lost the will to set boundaries during deployment (just strengthening that sibling bond — oh, yeah)!
They Embrace Forced Family Fun
Life can almost seem “normal” when you settle into a new house, make new friends, and actually have commitments on the calendar, like birthday parties and soccer practice. Then Thanksgiving hits. Suddenly, your little family unit is left staring at each other over a meal that could feed 20 because you forgot to scale the menu this year, and loneliness creeps in. Everyone you know in your new town is spending the day with cousins, aunts, and uncles, and your kids are left with only each other to play with. This is forced family fun to the max.
They Find the Sibling Bond in Military Culture
Gate guards saluting their car, stopping for colors on base, getting their ID card at age 10, standing for the national anthem before the feature film at base movie theaters, and greeting their parent at the airport after a deployment — these are just a few snippets of military culture your children grow up with. Having a sibling to share these memories with as they grow up and into their civilian lives will be priceless. Just wait.
Mama, you have to take the long view on this whole sibling-bond business. If you only see the daily squabbles over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher or who took so-and-so’s homemade slime, you’ll miss something incredible happening right in front of your eyes. Your kids are creating a shared-life experience that includes such unique experiences and challenges — ones that many people won’t ever understand. So, yeah, there’s no sibling bond like a military-sibling bond.