Military Brat (Without the Military)

Submitted by Lauren Hedenstrom
on 03/10/18

The term military brat is often associated with children who were forced to move many times during their childhood because of their parents’ obligations to the military. I call myself a military brat without the military. My parents were never involved with the Army, Navy, Marines, or any other section of the armed forces but we moved quite a bit during my childhood. Moving from place to place had always been a struggle for me. When I was a young teenager I struggled with issues of abandonment and loss due to the constant upheaval of my young life. I’ve grown more accustomed to change as time has gone on, but moving has never been and never will be an easy process.

I’ve moved a lot in my life. Not only have I moved cross country, but I have also had to deal with constant moves in my education even when in a place for a longer period of time. The longest period of being at one school was three years. In middle school alone, I moved five different times and that was very hard on an introverted girl in the most awkward years of life. I remember that at one point I vowed I was not going to make any new friends because they would be taken from me eventually. I dealt with this for a long time as a young teenager and it grew worse after I switched to a new high school in my sophomore year. After begging my parents to let me stay at the private school I had been to for two years, my sisters and I were ultimately transferred to the podunk country school just several miles up the road from our house. To get there we literally had to drive over the river, through the woods, and across a cow pasture to get to the front doors.

I think that with all of this moving around and being forced into making new friends each time has really helped me to grow as a person. I felt my parents were horrible people for the longest time (especially as a young teen) for forcing me into these social situations that I was not comfortable with. Now, because of those experiences of constantly moving and switching schools, I believe I’m so much more open to people and susceptible to change than I ever was when I was younger.

During my family’s moves cross-country, we’ve hauled an antique piano, three cars, and the entirety of my mom’s Beanie Baby collection. When I was younger, I never really thought about the impact a move had on the adults handling the logistics. My parents had to pick the right moving company, the right boxes to pack up all of our stuff, and the opportune moment to finally close up our old house and drive halfway across the country to get to the new one. I thought moving out by myself and driving through no-man’s land America was hard enough, but when I chose to fly back to my parent’s home to help them move again, I realized how wrong I was. This time around, my parents decided to move by themselves. They rented a U-Haul truck, the biggest one they could, and attached a trailer to the back to haul my sister’s car. It was truly the most terrifying thing I’ve actively chosen to do.

My dad drove this huge truck by himself all the way across the country with me in the front seat navigating through the Rocky Mountain and Denver, Colorado during rush hour. I’ve never felt so much anxiety. Cars sped past the truck on either side; no one would let him into the flow of traffic. The lanes were narrow and crowded. Finally getting to the new house, we were all able to breathe a bit easier. Shortly afterward, my dad jumped on a plane to fly back to Oregon to get his car and drive it once again halfway across the country.

Now, knowing about A-1 Auto Trasport, I think of how much easier that move would have been if we had just branched out a bit further to see if there were any reputable companies that would have saved us so much anxiety and time. Getting that antique piano off the truck was no easy task. Having my dad spend so much money just to fly back to Oregon to drive his car to Colorado was terribly wasteful. Now, knowing that companies such as A-1 exist, my hope is that my parent’s next move, maybe even my next move, will leave much room for easy breathing and a painless transition.

Submitted by Lauren Hedenstrom
on 03/10/18

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