This was the first time in my life I was genuinely excited to be moving. You see, the majority of my life was spent moving. I was a military kid growing up so every few years, my entire family would pack up our things, say goodbye to friends we just made, and go try to make new ones in a completely different state. As a kid, I was always sad about moving, but I didn’t realize how much it really impacted me until this most recent move.
I wasn’t moving far this time, just a few neighborhoods away, but I still had the same thoughts I would have as a kid: “Why do I have to go? Will I fit in? What if I can’t make any friends? What if the school I’m going to doesn’t have a good choir? Will my old friends even remember me in a year? Will I ever be able to visit my friends I’m leaving behind?”
These questions circulated in my brain even though I was only moving about 20 minutes from my old apartment and I would still be able to see all my friends I have made since I was here! A lifetime of moving away from friends and having multiple homes has left some pretty deep scars on my heart and psyche. It was because of this feeling that I became inspired to write my song Military Kid.
When writing the piece, I started off with a simple melodic idea and the words for the
chorus. I wanted the song to have an upbeat tempo and sound because moving was always made
out to be a happy and exciting thing by my parents. It was a new adventure, something to enjoy
and be happy about! But you can hear the lyrics greatly contradict the tone.
I speak about packing up bags, leaving tomorrow, saying bye to friends and houses I’ve known for a year.
All of these things that, in retrospect, are very sad and can be difficult to process as a kid. On top of
that I was not always the best kid and I got into fights with my mom a lot, especially when my
dad was gone. I made sure to add the line “don’t fight with mom cause dad’s out of sight/
overseas and fighting for his life.” I can only imagine how my mom felt with her oldest kid mad
at her and her husband overseas. The chorus ends with the simple words “Stay strong, Military
Kid,” because I think a lot of us think we have to stay strong for our parents or siblings (more on
The lyrics for the rest of the song detail how I used to feel when moving to a new place,
how I am so good at saying goodbye to people nowadays, and even how I view things now as an
adult. It’s hard to process my feelings on it all because a lot of my memories have blurred
together, but the things I do remember were my extreme emotions of having my dad in the military.
It’s a huge sacrifice to fight for one’s country, and that sacrifice trickles down to the
children and spouses too. I don’t think many people realize how much military kids sacrifice.
We always talk about mom and/or dad going off to war on the other side of the world, risking their lives and
being taken away from their families. It is scary and I am in no way negating the honorable
sacrifice that these men and women make; but many people don’t realize that their children and
spouses are making that sacrifice too. We don’t get to see our serving parents for a year or more
when they are deployed, we have to grow up in an ever changing environment, contend with the
idea that mom or dad might not come back. That is terrifying!
I remember multiple nights praying to God that he would protect my dad, keep him safe,
and bring him home to us while sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t show this though. I am the
oldest of my siblings. I had to stay strong, I had to grow up and help raise my sisters, keep them
safe and comfort them when they missed dad. All I got to comfort me was a plush toy of my dad
and you best believe I still go to bed with that thing right beside me every night. A few years
ago, when I found out my dad had thyroid cancer (they caught it early and had it removed so he
is ok!)I had a major flashback to those times clutching my doll and praying that my dad would be
ok. I remember doing that exact same ritual and prayed that God would protect my dad. Even
now, years after moving out of the house, I still need that doll when I miss my dad.
All of this is to say that us military kids make a huge sacrifice too.
If there are any military kids reading this right now, I want you to know that it is ok if you can’t be strong.
It’s ok to break down crying because you miss your mom or your dad. It’s ok to be upset that you are
moving and leaving your friends behind. It sucks to leave them behind, to have to pack and
unpack and then pack again. Just know this: It’s ok because that means you know you loved and
cared about these people to the fullest. Your sacrifice to this country is just as brave as your mom
or dad’s. It is going to hurt sometimes, even when you get older, but it is worth it. Now, I have
friends and family all over the world, people I would have never met if I just stayed in one place.
This song isn’t much. There is no professional recording boothe, no mixing tracks or
beautiful elaborate strings. It’s just me and my ukulele Sandy in my half empty apartment; but I
hope it gives you some sort of consolation to know that we all think the same way.
This is my ode to you, military kid.
A Song for Military Kids by: Eva Alpar