Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When a shoebox kept me sane.

Like I mentioned previously, by August this military girlfriend stuff was a breeze. But when September came rolling around, I was a nervous, antsy, excited, irritated, terrified, agitated, delighted, giddy, mess. I didn't know which way was up. If you have ever known someone who is in the military you understand how much people talk about how different your loved one will be after basic training no matter what branch they are a part of. With this being pounded into your cranium for three months straight, you can hopefully understand why I was so apprehensive to see Him again. Every night my brain kept me up playing the damn "What If" game. You know which one I'm talking about. The beloved game in which your mind tortures you and makes you think about the absolute worst possible scenarios. Yeah. I played that game the entire month. "What if they convinced Him he doesn't want me anymore? What if he, 'wants to focus on just his career'? What if he decides that I'm not worth it? What if he doesn't have the same sense of humor? What if...? What if...? What if...?" I remember the night before I left to see him graduate in California, I was a freaking strung out mess. I could not keep it together if my life depended on it. I finally reached the point to where I was hyperventilating. Tears poured from my eyes without my permission, and I was rocking back and forth on the edge of my bed trying to pull myself together. About five minutes into my rocking chair routine, a pink Sketchers box caught my attention. It was the box I had lovingly placed every single letter I had received from Him in the past three months. It was, (in that moment) my saving grace. I probably spent an hour re-reading every single heartfelt letter that boy wrote me, and when I finished, I knew everything was going to be more than okay. I felt warm and at peace for the first time in a long time. I placed the box on my dresser, and took a deep breath. I smiled to myself when I realized how ridiculous my meltdown was, but I mostly smiled because I knew that this time Thursday, I would be giving my newly graduated Marine a hug, and further more, because I knew that he and I would carry on, as if never separated in the first place.

2160 hours to go. Now what?

Now, I'm not going to sit here and lie to you. Tears instantly greeted my eyes, the minute he turned away from me. But that's okay. I promised to not cry in front of him, not to refrain from crying at all. It was one of those really super annoying cries where your brain isn't telling you cry, and neither are your eyes, so why is it happening?! I was literally leaking. Everytime I blinked seawater splashed down on to my cheeks. As I reached my car, I saw his shuttle pulling away, taking the man I love far far away from me. I watched until it was nothing but a speck in the distance. Starting then, I had approximately 2,160 hours until I would see those green eyes again. "So what now?", you may ask. What do you do for the following three months? The best advice I can give to a girl with a military man is to keep yourself busy.  That can be pretty easy if you are seperated during the school year, but remember, my man left late June and was expected to graduate late September. I still had a whole month of summer, and almost all of August before my college courses began. So what did I do? I joined a support group online. I went to work everyday and put all my earnings into our savings account. I visited my sister in Boston. I got my wisdom teeth out. But the best recommendation I can give, is to write. I kept a journal and wrote what I did everyday and how I was feeling. Not only was it a great way to express myself, but a great way to just dump everything that you are feeling. And! As an added bonus, I planned on giving the journal to my new Marine after basic. It was a cool way for him to know how I was really doing during his absence. Man, that journal was my absolute best friend. I wrote about everything. It wasn't until September that I began to fall behind, but that is only because classes were in full swing. Things were fantastic...until the moon took her spot in the sky. Night time...was horrible. I wasn't used to falling asleep alone, falling asleep without a long conversation, falling asleep without tickle torture, or falling asleep without watching the Lion King with Him. (Don't hate. We love that movie.) That was definitely the hardest adjustment. But like most tough things in life, it gets better. Letters were sent back and forth between us, and that is really something special. Text messages and phone calls are cool, but there is really something precious about a handwritten letter with your name on it. That's something to treasure forever. By August, I would say I was pretty well adjusted go to work, go to class, do homework, write Him a letter, maybe sleep...but there was always that constant nagging voice in my head asking, "Is it September yet?"


At the age of ten, I solemnly swore to never become involved with a man in the military. So much for that. As of December 20th, 2010, my life has been completely flipped upside down...and I have never been happier. On that day, my freckled faced partner in crime asked me to be his. The choice was easy. Date my best friend, or let him beg for another four years? Like most fairy tales, the girl said yes, and we began on our journey. Remember the promise I made to myself? The one about never being with a military guy? I broke that promise. My spunky, green eyed boyfriend was leaving in June for Marine Corps Basic Training. That's right. I got me a military man. I was aware that this was what he wanted, but I guess I never really grasped the big picture until he left. The final hug before the three month separation was all I had to cling to. It was then that everything hit me. Like a punch in the stomach, I realized he was leaving and I wouldn't feel those arms around me again for 90 days. A quarter of a year without his random smooches, surprise breakfasts, or extravagant stories. But during that same hug I decided that for this man, I would be strong. When he let go, I would not cry. I would not ask him to stay or even say goodbye. Instead I promised to watch him turn away from me; watch him follow his dream. And furthermore, I promised to support him the whole way.