This is not having a hometown. Home becomes people, and it is spread out.
This is growing up before anyone else; learning to cook, to care for younger siblings because there is only one parent and they aren’t exactly functioning like they normally do.
This is avoiding the news, because “20 dead” is a statistic to the rest of the world, a week of nightmares and panic at every passing car for you.
This is never screwing up because it would reflect on your parent.
This is learning acronyms before you learn most words.
This is a hate/love relationship with the Army: they raised you, but they took your parent from you during some of your most important years.
This is accepting that your dad could miss your first and last years of high school, your first game, every orchestra concert, your graduation, moving into college…
This is protecting the Army from outside criticism because they CAN’T understand, while criticizing it from the inside.
This is knowing the chain of command better than you understand the English language.
This is knowing proper flag etiquette and getting truly angry when someone doesn’t follow it.
This is knowing what the Pledge of Allegiance means.
This is knowing how to fucking properly salute (goddamn straight fingers, slightly angled hand, straight wrist, and at your fucking temple, you’re not shielding your eyes from the sun idiot) when you are only seven years old.
This is scoffing at people who cheat because their husbands/wives are gone for a week and they “missed them.” Please bitch my mother has waited a full year (and longer, with the adjustment period and PTSD) for my husband and I fucking know she didn’t cheat.
This is knowing the Army song slightly better than The Star-Spangled Banner.
This is knowing various ridiculous marching rhythms.
This is getting so into the Army-Navy feud that you actually hiss at people who are Navy brats…and then befriend them anyway because Military Brats band together bitches.
This is being an Army Brat, and I wouldn’t be anyone else.