(Photo Credits: Photo Pin)

Dear Avery,

I’m writing you this letter because your daddy and I love you very much and we know that as you get older you will have questions about our life and why we move so often and why daddy isn’t home all the time. I was hoping that this would help you understand.

When you go to school and your friends ask you what your mommy and daddy do, you can tell them that your daddy is a hero. When they ask you what a hero is, tell them a hero is a member of the United States military. A hero is someone who gives their time in order to protect others, and never expects anything in return.

Your daddy proudly serves his country as a member of the United States Coast Guard. People may try to tell you that that Coast Guard is not really a branch of the military, but we know better. Tell skeptics that your daddy went through eight rigorous weeks of boot camp in order to earn the title of “Coastie”. Tell them that while the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines fight overseas to protect our country, the Coast Guard protects our home soil and waters. Inform them that the Coast Guard also goes overseas, to places like Bahrain, to help protect our country from pirates and terrorists. When they tell you that the Coast Guard can’t be military because it doesn’t fall under the Department of Defense tell them that the Coast Guard DID fall under the Department of Defense until 2002, when President Bush signed an act that reorganized the government. While the Coast Guard may be small in numbers compared to the other branches, its men and women are Semper Paratus; meaning always ready to answer the call of duty, whether it be aiding a disabled boat, assisting communities during natural disasters, or intercepting vessels attempting to smuggle drugs or weapons.

As you get older you will realize that it’s not always easy being in a military family. Unfortunately, daddy is going to miss some birthdays and holidays and school recitals. It’s not that he doesn’t want to see all of the important moments in your life, but when duty calls, he must be ready to answer. You’ll learn that every few years we’re going to move to a new station; that means leaving behind friends and a lifestyle that you’ve grown used to. We will also have to schedule vacations and trips to visit family around daddy’s work schedule, and sometimes those trips will have to be cancelled if something important comes up at work. However, while many kids grow up in the same neighborhood, you get the exciting adventure of living all over the country!

You can learn how to ski in Massachusetts, surf in Hawaii, fish for salmon in Alaska, and salsa dance in Florida. Even more exciting, you’ll have friends in all of those places, too! While moving can be a hassle, just think of all of the neat places you will see as you grow up: The Alamo in Texas, the Statue of Liberty in New York, the French Quarter in New Orleans, the White House in Washington, DC, the Space Needle in Seattle, wild horses on the Eastern Shore…and the sights go on and on!

Because of your daddy’s sense of duty and love for America, you are going to grow up experiencing the best of our great country. It’s not always going to be easy, and you and I are going to have to be strong and independent, but please know that daddy will be around as often as he can. You’re going to meet people who don’t understand the choices that we make or why we’ve dedicated our lives to the military, but you can take solace in knowing that we love each other and we are just as much a part of the military as your daddy is.

I hope this helps you to understand our family a little better, and makes you appreciate your daddy’s sacrifices even more. Our lives will change often, and home is where the military sends us, but as long as we’re together, there is no challenge we cannot overcome.

Love always,


Crystal and her husband have been married for a little over a year and currently live in Texas. On July 4th, 2012 they welcomed their first child, a daughter named Avery.

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