As a military brat, you move constantly and adapt to new lifestyles. Whether you are living in a small house or a big house, in the city or on a farm, in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of everything, in Europe, Asia, or America, you learn to adapt and prepare yourself to meet new people and maybe change your personality. But, you never prepare yourself for when your parent(s) retire.
My dad retired last September, but I am still going to school in the DoDEA district, which has personally made the transition easier. However, it is still difficult because I was a military kid for 15 years, and even though I am still a military kid at heart, that's not what other people see anymore.
In April, my school celebrated military kids, giving out muffins, donuts, and a bunch of other goodies. When they gave out these goodies, it was supposed to be for military brats only, but I grabbed some, not realizing until the end of the month that I was not a military brat anymore. Even though I knew all the pain and happiness of being a military brat, and that was what my whole life had been about, I was now a civilian.
The realization that I was a civilian was kind of painful. I couldn’t believe it. Everything changed the day my dad retired. Even though I go to a DoDEA school and there is still the possibility of me moving at any moment, it’s different. It isn’t the military sending us places. It is up to us. We get to choose where we want to live.
Not everyone will have the same experience going from a military brat to a civilian. Some people with go from being a military brat who goes to DoDEA schools to a civilian who goes to DoDEA schools, and others will go from being military brats who lives in exotic places to civilians living in their parent's hometown. Or maybe your parents are still in the military when you go off to college, and you have to adjust to going from military brat to civilian then. This change will be different for everyone, but we will all feel the same loss.