by Bailey Butler
Home. For many people, the word “home” means a house on one street, in one town, for a person’s entire life until it’s their time to head off to college and start their own life. I never grew up that way, I had many homes, 11 to be exact.
My father retired from the U.S. Army when I was 22 years old and, on average, my family moved every two years up until my father’s retirement. Each time we moved meant we had a new school, new friends, new bedrooms, new playgrounds, new towns and new restaurants. It also meant we left behind friends, homes, and places we loved.
That is why “home” to me has never been one place. Rather, home is where my people are. Home is where my parents are, home is where my brother is, and the best kind of home is when we are all together.
Being an “Army Brat” made me who I am today. Many see this life as nomadic and a life without roots, but I see it as a life with roots created in a different way. My roots are grounded in the people I hold closest to my heart, no matter where they are in the world.
The Army taught me to be resilient and adaptable, and I use these skills daily. In our family, the best way to overcome life’s challenges was to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and figure it out as best as you could and always ask yourself, “Is this life threatening?: If not, then together we could get through it.
Most people who know about my background say things like, “Wow, that must have been really hard to move so much,” “Wasn’t it hard to change schools and leave your friends all the time?” Or, “Wasn’t it scary when your dad was deployed?” Yes, it was. I am the woman I am today because of how I grew up. I am stronger for it, I am better for it, and I would never change that for the world.
I am Bailey Butler, I am an Army Brat and I will always be so very proud to say that.
Bailey Butler holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Furman University, Greenville, SC, and a Master of Science in Nursing from the College of Mount Saint Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a critical care nurse at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She grew up as an Army brat living all over the world.