Recipes, dishes, purple hearts, ribbons, medals, clothes, knives, jewelry, and watches among many other things, for years have been passed down from generation to generation. This has become a tradition. These items are not just things, they're things with meaning. We hold them dear to our hearts because we hold dear to our hearts the people these cherished items belonged to. Most often, these hand me downs, come from a grandparent or a parent, and will be passed down to your child or children, so on and so forth.

Though I may not be a mother yet, I know that parenting is not the easiest career in the world. It is instilled in a parent to do anything and everything to make sure their children grow up to be men and women of good character. Parenting in and of itself is not easy, but it's beyond a doubt rewarding. If you have a son or daughter in the military, well, the parenting career gets more difficult, yet more rewarding. One might join the military to follow in the footsteps of a parent, grandparent, or both. When you can pass down your military family heritage, stories and advice, it creates a bond like no other and could perhaps bring more meaning to the items mentioned earlier.

A parent's job is never done. I'm sure you will find no argument that worrying is part of a parent's daily routine. From boot camp and basic training to any deployment, a parent worries. A parent's main concern for a child no matter what age is that he or she is generally healthy and happy. When it comes to deployments however, this concern comes to the surface more so than when he or she is stationed stateside. It is without question hard to just sit and do nothing but worry and wait. You worry if your child is eating right and getting enough sleep among many other issues. Sending care packages is a great way to make sure your child is getting what you think he or she needs. Though you can't be there with them, rest assured, you're with them in spirit, and by sending packages you're sending a part of home to them.

The holidays are a time of family. Inevitably though, your child may not be able to take leave to come home. Remember, though it may be hard, you've engraved in your child values. The decision to join the military was very well thought out, with the expectation of having to miss a few holidays here and there. It's a sacrifice your child was willing to make, and though it may cause you tears, be proud that you've raised such a wonderful child. Not knowing it though, you've done more for them than you could imagine. When they are deployed, things run through their mind, little things that you've taught them. Maybe it's something you've always said to them for encouragement or maybe it's them remembering to 'elevate it' when they get cut, no matter what it is, rest assured that youv'e done and still are doing a good job, and though you are not there physically, your words are in their heart.

As a daughter of a former Marine, and a fellow supporter of our military, to you, the military parents, I want to say thank you. You are the rock of America. It is because of you that we have such wonderful men and women representing and defending our country. Your job is never done, and it isn't easy, but you do it. You do it because you have an unconditional love. You have the type of bond that can only be felt by a child and his or her parent. You stand out from civilian parents because you've been through, are going through and will go through a bit of a rougher ride, because you're a military family. You know how it feels to feel things a lot of parents don't have to feel. Difficult times and good times, you make your presence known. You are a proud parent of a United States Soldier, Marine, Airman, Sailor and Coastie, and you can't be thanked enough for all you do.

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My Child Joined the Military What do I do Now?
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