Jamie Sinclair is a curler who, along with teammates Alex Carlson, Vicky Persinger and Monica Walker, is vying for a spot on her first Olympic team. Team Sinclair won the 2017 U.S. championships and was part of the winning 2017 Continental Cup team. Sinclair is blogging for TeamUSA.org on her road to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
My dad was a fighter pilot, my mom an air traffic controller in the military. We moved around a lot. My two brothers were, and always will be, my best friends; I think in part because we are military kids. It's cool and it's scary. It's odd to think that events playing out on the news could have a direct link to your life. If war hadn't broken out in the Gulf, I would have been born in Florida and not Alaska.
When my dad was deployed, my mom made a calendar in the shape of a snake. Each week that my dad was away was marked off in sections on the snake's body. Every Sunday we got to pick a new sticker to place on the snake to count away the weeks. That snake was so long it took up the whole fridge.
One time we moved from in town to the military base because it was easier on my mom when Dad was deployed. I was about 4 years old and playing with some kids down the street from my old house when I went missing. I can't imagine the panic I caused but they later found me sitting on the front steps at my old house. When Mom asked why I went there I just said, "In case daddy comes home, I want him to know where we moved to."
I'm sure I made my Mom laugh, cry and get mad all at the same time. I'm not sure how she found the strength to do it all by herself.
I remember once I talked back to my mom and was promptly sent to "Time Out." With all the defiance I could muster, I said, "I wish Daddy was here." My mom was just as quick with her reply: "I wish he was here too, but you're still going to Time Out." Just so we are clear… this happened when I was a little kid, haha.
There is no question that sometimes it's hard being a military family, but there were a few things I remember my parents doing that really helped us:
-most important, they had three kids so we always had someone to play with
-my mom could set up and decorate a complete house in only a few days to look like we had always lived there
-we always had the same seat at the dinner table – consistency is good – and we actually still sit in the same spots
-we all had a picture of Dad on our bedside table – a hero shot, loved it
-my parents always told us to enjoy the places we were transferred to, but understand we could not stay for long
-Dad promised in our last house, when he retired, we would build a real tree fort, and he did
The best thing about the military family is the sense of community and belonging. I had a ton of “moms" on the base looking out for me and I feel like they still do.
I missed a flight and got stuck in Calgary, Alberta, not too long ago. My mom called a military friend who lived there and before I knew it, I was picked up and taken care of. I am blessed to know these amazing military families.
I did not follow in my parents' footsteps in joining the military but I am so proud of them for serving and showing me that way of life. I can't say exactly how the military has shaped me, but I can't imagine being me without that experience.
My dream is the 2018 Olympics and I want to share that dream with not only my family but all military families out there.