TJ's mom had to TDY for 4 months of training so TJ went to live with his dad. He liked going to his dad's on weekends and he'd been thinking he'd like to live with dad, but this was different. For one thing, he didn't have a choice. His parents decided it for him. Plus his dad lived in this tiny little town on the edge of nowhere. The only thing those people knew about helicopters was that they made lots of noise. They wouldn't know a Huey or an Apache if it landed right on top of them. TJ missed his friends, his school and his neighborhood. He missed being around people who knew what he was talking about. He told this one kid that his mom was TDY and the kid thought that was her name.
An often unseen part of deployments and off-installation training is that kids have to move. You live with your military mom like TJ and when she's gone, so are you. If you're a military kid, moving happens. But this is different. You're not moving WITH your parent, but somewhere new WITHOUT them. It feels like you're on your own. You might be moving off base into a civilian community where no one knows much about the military. There's a statistic that says only 1% of Americans are connected directly to the military. That means if you meet 100 new people, only 1 is going to know much about the military first-hand. On top of these new worries, you still have all the same old moving hassles to handle — missing old friends, trying to fit in at your new school, finding all your stuff, learning your way around. It's easy to think the new people you're around "don't have a clue" and to stay kind of mad and resentful about how unfair life is. Or you can step up and do something about it.
- It's OK to look back. Stay in touch with people who you know love you, such as your parent, your old friends and even past teachers, coaches or staff that you really liked. This is called your "support network" and it's up to you to keep it going and to let them know how you're doing.
- You've got to look forward, too. The new place is only going to be as good as you try to make it. Don't tackle it all at once — target one thing at a time. Consider finding ways to educate your new friends about the military and deployments.
- Take a positive action to help someone else. By looking outside of ourselves and helping someone else with a problem, our own problems often look different.