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Meet Reagan: a military child

Reagan Melvin, seven-year-old military child, holds in a laugh during a Month of the Military Child photo shoot, April 6, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.

Reagan Melvin, seven-year-old military child, holds in a laugh during a Month of the Military Child photo shoot, April 6, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, single mother of a military child, wakes her son Reagan for school April 8, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Reagan is the son of a single parent, he is active throughout the week with gymnastics twice a week and jujitsu four times a week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, single mother of a military child, wakes her son Reagan for school April 8, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Reagan is the son of a single parent, he is active throughout the week with gymnastics twice a week and jujitsu four times a week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan works on a math paper at school, April 15, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Reagan has adapted to the life of a military child. Purple is the color of the month of the military child, family and friends of military kids wear purple to show their support of the sacrifices and difficulties they face. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan works on a math paper at school, April 15, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Reagan has adapted to the life of a military child. Purple is the color of the month of the military child, family and friends of military kids wear purple to show their support of the sacrifices and difficulties they face. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan plays on a rock wall during recess, April 15, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Since 9/11, more than two million children have had a parent deploy, the moth of the military child is used as a time to recognize the difficulties kids face during those times. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan plays on a rock wall during recess, April 15, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Since 9/11, more than two million children have had a parent deploy, the month of the military child is used as a time to recognize the difficulties kids face during those times. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan eats lunch at school, April 15, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Reagan like most seven-year-olds loves to play games and not do his homework, despite that, he does what he is told to do. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan eats lunch at school, April 15, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Reagan like most seven-year-olds loves to play games and not do his homework, despite that, he does what he is told to do. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan salutes a classmate from the top of a jungle gym, April 15, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. While his understanding of the military is limited he knows what his mom is doing is important and he is proud that she is in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan salutes a classmate from the top of a jungle gym, April 15, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. While his understanding of the military is limited he knows what his mom is doing is important and he is proud that she is in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, watches her son, Reagan, while he plays on a playground, April 6, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Reagan and his mom are the best of friends, even though they don’t get to spend as much time together as they would like. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, watches her son, Reagan, while he plays on a playground, April 6, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Reagan and his mom are the best of friends, even though they don’t get to spend as much time together as they would like. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, and her son Reagan, play a board game after school, April 6, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Megan works hard to balance work and home life but has found that one side of life will always be stronger than the other. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, and her son Reagan, play a board game after school, April 6, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Megan works hard to balance work and home life but has found that one side of life will always be stronger than the other. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, and her son, Reagan walk home with their dog toby, April 6, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The life of a military kid isn’t easy but they always make the best of what they have, the Month of The Military Child gives military children the chance look at their own life and talk about what they face as a military child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, and her son, Reagan walk home with their dog toby, April 6, 2019, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The life of a military kid isn’t easy but they always make the best of what they have, the Month of The Military Child gives military children the chance look at their own life and talk about what they face as a military child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, waits for her son Reagan to get out of bed and put his clothes on for school, April 8, 2019, on F.E Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Reagan, once he wakes up, is a hyper, fast-talking seven-year-old military kid. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)
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Airman 1st Class Megan Melvin, 90th Communications Squadron knowledge operations, waits for her son Reagan to get out of bed and put his clothes on for school, April 8, 2019, on F.E Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Reagan, once he wakes up, is a hyper, fast-talking seven-year-old military kid. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Reagan unbuckles his seatbelt to go into school, April 8, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Reagan is the son of a military mom, and April is the Month of the Military child, where we take time to honor the difficulties children of military families’ faces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)
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Reagan unbuckles his seatbelt to go into school, April 8, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Reagan is the son of a military mom, and April is the Month of the Military child, where we take time to honor the difficulties children of military families’ faces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

With both dog and children toys scattered around, Megan and Reagan Melvin had a typical day of games and homework. At first, it was a bit awkward for seven-year-old Reagan. He wouldn’t say more than one word around me and he would hide his face any time I touched the camera. I knew he would need time to warm up before we could talk.

After two days, I witnessed Reagan’s true self, a hyper, fast-talking, fart-noise making little goober. I could finally learn about his life as a military child with a single parent.

“From the outside, most children seem to adjust pretty well to the military lifestyle, but there’s an underbelly no one really seems to talk about,” said Megan. “Military kids grow up with phrases like ‘on time is late’ and ‘the only easy day is yesterday’, and that sets them apart from their peers in many ways.”

While I haven’t been around many children as young as Reagan, his level of maturity was certainly impressive. He quickly did what he was told to do by his mom, whether it was to clean his plate after a meal, pick up after himself, or take out the trash.

He was willingly doing chores that I at 21 procrastinate with. It was clear that his strict upbringing in a military family has had an impact on him.

“I’m proud that my mom is in the Air Force,” said Reagan. “But it’s also hard, because we don’t get to hang out as much anymore.”

Before basic training we got to hang out all the time, we did things together every day. But now it’s just on the weekend and after school, Reagan added.

To make up for the less time they hang out, Megan and Reagan play board games and try to spend as much quality time together as they can.

Any person who has been around a seven year old knows they are a handful and they test patience, like it’s their profession.

“I have two sisters, so I’ve always been a patient person, but dealing with stressors of work and home have worn my patience at times,” said Megan.

Megan works hard to balance work and home life but has found that one will always be weaker than the other.

“Col. Stacy Jo Huser, 90th Missile Wing commander, has become one of my mentors for the military and life in general. How she manages work and family has stuck with me ‘I decided there is no such thing as a balance. Some days I’m a great mom and wife, some days I’m a great Air Force leader but very rarely can I do both, and I’ve had to tell myself that’s ok.’”

When Reagan talked about being a military kid, everything he would say made it seem like it wasn’t a big deal until I asked him about when his mom went to basic training and technical training. 

“I was really sad when she left and while she was gone,” said Reagan. “I missed her being there to hang out with me and play, even now we don’t get to hang out very much and I wish we did.”

When the topic of kids with military parents comes up most think of videos or pictures of them being reunited after a long deployment, rarely do they think of that kid’s day-to-day life. Reagan is certainly a happy fun goofball that also happens to be the child of a military mom.