What’s your name? Hello all. My name is Amanda Hullinger.
What branch does your spouse serve in? My husband is in the Marines.
How long has he or she served? 12 years next month (July 2017).
How many times has he or she deployed (if at all)? He has deployed 4 times. 3 of those were combat deployments and one was a MEU. Currently he is getting ready to go on deployment number 5 this winter.
How many times have you PCS’d? We have PCS'd from 29 palms to Camp Pendleton, CA. Currently, we are in the process of PCSing from Camp Pendleton to Camp Lejeune in 2 months. PCSing from 29 palms to Pendleton was easier; we didn't have kids or a dog and we weren't established as well as we are now in California. Basically, we have more stuff to move!
How many children do you have? We have two children. Zach just turned 7 and Kailyn is 5. Zach has experienced deployments but was too young to understand. Kailyn was born while daddy was away and met him when she was 2 months old. She doesn't remember much.
With the work ups for upcoming deployments, my kids have been noticing daddy's absence a lot more then usual and they ask questions which is good. To me it means they are trying to understand daddy's job (infantry).
Our son who is the oldest is having the hardest time with daddy being away. He cries for him at night especially before bed. It's a reminder to me at least of what families sacrifice for the greater good.
What are some of the things you’ve done to help your children cope with the challenges – moves, deployments, etc – of military life? I keep everyone busy by putting Kailyn in gymnastics/dance and Zach in karate/hockey during the week. During the weekends I try to tone it down so we can relax and watch a movie, go to the park, etc. Sometimes though, a good cry is all we need to refresh ourselves and move on.
Finish this sentence. My kids will be better for being part of a military family because…they are resilient, strong and kind. Sometimes when Zach meets a new friend whose loved one is deployed, he likes to reassure the child that his dad is or has deployed too and that are not alone. I thought that was pretty awesome coming from a 7 year old! He went to a non DoDea school this year and was the only military child in the school. He made the most of it and made me proud. Zach showed me that he can adapt and overcome to different situations.
Any advice for the children of military families? Some advice that I have for military families and children would be to not fear the unknown. Take life day by day and make all the memories you can. When daddy is home for a weekend, I try to plan a fun day such as going to the local zoo or amusement park then a relaxing day with board games, movies and popcorn. These are the happy memories that children remember for years to come.
Bonus Question: What’s your favorite camouflage pattern? My favorite camouflage pattern is the USMC Woodlands.
This interview is brought to you by Sgt. Sleeptight – defender of sweet dreams for the children of military families.