Uprooted: Secret Life Of A Military Kid


Photo contributed by Miranda Darné

While living in South Korea, senior Miranda Darné was able to see the DMZ and step into North Korea by entering the Joint Security Area.

We entered a small room filled with other children like my siblings and I. Sadness was etched on their faces.

I was old enough to know what was going on, so when my parents tried to cheer me up I wanted none of it.

A man opened the door and started rallying the others saying it was time to go. That’s when I latched onto my dad. I refused to let go of his uniform. Eventually I had to and that’s when the tears started flowing. A year would go by until he was able to come home. A year would go by where he would miss my first day of middle school. A year would go by with my dad risking his life in Iraq and with me at home, missing him.

This wasn’t new.

He left us to go to Korea a week after I was born.

Going months without seeing him is the norm.

Never being able to spend time together just because he came home too late and had to go into work on the weekends is just part of our lives.

That’s what it’s like having a parent in the military.

I’ve been to seven different schools, lived in three states and even a different continent.

This isn’t about getting pity from people who read about my life, but telling people why I am the way I am.

I try not to identify myself as an “Army brat,” but when you move once every two years your whole life, you can’t really be defined as anything but. Especially because my dad has been in the Army since before I was born.

Since he’s been in for 22 years and is now a Colonel, I really don’t know anything else besides this lifestyle; the constant moving, the new friends, the new schools…the list could go on forever. I could never describe the feeling of saying goodbye to a friend knowing you might never see them again. Believe me, it was really hard, but the only thing I could do was get over it because I realized I wasn’t the only one going through it.

I’ve been to ordinary places like El Paso, Texas, and to crazy places like Osan, South Korea.  The spectrum of where you live is pretty broad considering there are hundreds of options. You really can’t choose where you live, so it’s like playing the lottery.

I’ve never gotten the chance to actually live in my hometown. I usually get to visit for about two weeks at the most, so you could only imagine how I felt when my dad got stationed at Ft. Sill only an hour away from Wichita Falls. So now I get to finish high school only having gone to two high schools: Fort Knox and Rider, which is pretty rare. Regardless, it’s really nice being so close to my dad, my hometown and my extended family.

One thing I’ve learned that is going to really sound cliché in a good way is to enjoy the time I have where I am and who I’m with and to just make the best of the situations I’m in.

Being able to see my dad when he finally comes home, knowing he’s safe.

Traveling, experiencing and having crazy adventures.

Having a really close bond with my family.

That’s what it’s like having a parent in the military.