forgive me if this post is a bit all over the place. i didn't even know where to begin…and i certainly didn't know where to stop. i just kind of wrote from my heart. hopefully it's not to scatterbrained. 🙂
i fell in love with a boy from west point when i was 23 years old. i didn't know much about him. i just new i loved his squinty brown eyes. and his smile. and the cleft in his chin. and the way he made me feel.
i certainly didn't know what our love story would entail. i didn't know that the road ahead of us would include four little girls, six duty stations, four states, eight moves, eight homes, seven (on the brink of eight) deployments.
i didn't know that we would weather some of the scariest times i could imagine.
i didn't know that i'd have his baby girl without him there.
i didn't know that there would be months that i thought i might never see him again.
i just knew he made me happy.
it was 2000.
there was no war. no september 11. no operation enduring freedom,no operation iraqi freedom. no one even really know what the word "deployed" meant. no imminent danger.
we had a pretty good relationship. a little drama (mostly caused by having a long-distance relationship) but a lot of love.
but i took him for granted. i took our time together for granted. we fought over the silliest things. i held the stupidest grudges.
i remember taking him to the dallas airport and dropping him off…and crying so hard on the way back to the car. crying so hard i couldn't see straight.
i thought it was the worst thing ever.
i had no idea.
then came september 11. things changed. my safety net ripped. my bubble popped. my safe little world was turned upside down. suddenly this loving a soldier thing? took on a whole new meaning.
i was scared.
but oh my goodness did i love him. he loved me…he made me feel like the center of the universe. he made me feel beautiful.i made him laugh. i gave him stability. we fit together.
i didn't know what was ahead of us, but i wasn't letting go.
we got engaged, and spent the first part of our engagement apart. he was in ranger school.
i thought it was the hardest thing ever.
i had no idea.
i planned a beautiful west point wedding. i found the dress,the flowers, the women who would stand by my side.
j made it through ranger school and broke the news that our west point wedding wasn't going to happen. you see…he wasn't going to be in the US. he was going to be in afghanistan.
we planned the wedding in a week.
three months later he left for almost a year in afghanistan. no emails, no skype. not many phone calls. just hand written letters. i still have every single one.
how do you love someone who is halfway across the world? you write them letters telling them the mundane. telling them the big things. you write them letters listing all the things you love about them, while fighting back the tears and lying with your pen and saying you are "fine". truth is i wasn't fine. i was very naive. i still didn't know how to have a marriage, let alone how to do it during a deployment.
but we figured it out.
you know what i figured out?
it's not about me. or even about him. it's about us.
it's about something bigger, more complicated, more selfless. it's about the choice he has made to do what he does.
love is about sacrifice. i have learned that our love is complicated.
our loves spans miles and years and continents and moments. some moments he is there for, some he is not.
but he is never far from me because he is in my heart. he is just as much a part of me as i am. he is imprinted on my soul.
how do you love someone when you live from moment to moment wondering if they are alive? when you survive from email to email? feeling a sense of relief each time you hear from him but also looking ahead to the next time you hear? how do you love someone who is gone more than he is next to you?
you pray and hold on tight. and you tell him you love him. you hold tight to him when he is here. you tell him you are proud of him.
when he comes home you hold him so tight he can't breathe. you breathe him in to try to memorize it for next time he is gone.
we have had six deployments and four children since that first deployment. i have learned so much. i know my husband like i've never known anyone. i can read my husband in a look. i love him in a way that is both terrifying and exhilarating.
we have had some beautiful moments. conversly we have had some excruciatingly terrifying moments. some of those moments felt like the worst thing ever.
but truth be told?
i've never experienced the worst thing ever.
and every day we are apart i pray that i will never have to know that pain.
loving jimmy is like being in a constant free fall. nothing is guaranteed. we only have the time we have together now.
we love with all of our hearts. argue with all of our hearts. trust with all of our hearts.
we build memories. we make babies. we make promises. these are the things that bind us when he is away.
i don't take our time together for granted anymore. i relish it. savor it. see it for what it is, even when we are driving each other nuts. it's a gift.
how do you love a soldier?
with everything you have. you love him knowing that loving him is the only thing you can EVER be certain of in the life you lead.
you love him knowing that sometimes it will be all you have to cling to.
you love him because he is your heart.