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What Being in an Air Force Family Is Like

Home Is Where the Air Force Sends Us


Image Source: Meghan Mehan

Last year I bought a Christmas ornament of a little red house with the words "Home is where the Air Force sends us" inscribed on it. I keep it out and proudly display it year 'round. It's a great reminder that home is a state of mind. I often struggle with the idea of home and how to answer the question, "Where are you from?"

I just never know how to answer. What are you actually asking me? Where do I currently live? Can you tell I am just passing through or is it because you've never seen me in your neighborhood before? Where was I born? Because I don't look like I'm from here? What ethnicity am I? Has the infamous Miami accent accidentally slipped out and it sounds foreign to your ears?

"I'm from Miami, but I live in [insert city] now." You see, I am a military spouse. Therefore, home is temporary. I reside in Southern California and yes, I refer to it as home (à la: "I can't wait to get back home and do nothing all weekend!") but I will always refer to Miami as home — even though I have not lived there in over eight years — because that's where my family is. It's where my inner circle is.

I am home wherever I am with my husband, the only person who knows this journey as well as I do.

Several years ago I bought my mom a small decorative sign that says "Home is where your mom is." I don't care how old I get, I think that will always be true. Wherever my mom is will forever feel like home. So, it's complicated. This seemingly harmless question of where I'm from stumps me every time.

Being a military spouse means accepting a transient life. It means never settling anywhere for more than four years. So home truly is wherever the Air Force sends us.

One of my favorite songs (and the song that was playing as my husband and I walked into our wedding reception) is "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It reminds me that home is a state of mind. I am home wherever I feel happy and loved. I am home wherever I am with with my family, laughing until we cry. I am home wherever I am with great friends, catching up over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I am home wherever I am with my husband, the only person who knows this journey as well as I do.

I will happily go along for this ride in his military career and I will always find a way to be home no matter where this journey takes us. I may never find the right answer to the question "Where are you from?" and we may make many homes across the country throughout the years, but I will always be home with him.

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Image Source: Gabriella Lavin

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