I know exactly how you feel. You’re standing on your front lawn in your bare feet, the March sun beaming on your head. He’s walking away and all your left with is the Navy shirt that he got when he enlisted and your hand on your lips because he just kissed you for the first time…and last time for the next nine weeks of bootcamp. This moment that you are experiencing right now will be your first memory of being a military girlfriend. And that feeling you are having is going to become a normality in your life. The goodbyes are going to become a regular occurrence.
But here’s what else is going to become a regular occurrence: hello. Running in the airport to leap into his arms is going to become a thing. Logging onto Google to check flight prices will happen often. Road trips with your mom. Letters will come in the mail. Packages too. Taylor will tell you some of the most beautiful things you have ever heard in your 23 years on this earth. You will grow in remarkable ways, both emotionally and physically. You will travel and Charleston will become like a second home for you. The strength you find in yourself will amaze you. Things you never thought you could do before will now become a reality. You will create your own company.
Life will go in directions you never even thought it had the capability of going. The grumpy man that works at the post office will become a friend to you. Everything you own will have an anchor on it. Half your wardrobe will be dark blue and gold. The Blackhawks will be important and you will attend more hockey games than you’d ever imagine even though you don’t like hockey.
Military uniforms will suddenly become extremely attractive. You will understand military time and where time zones start and end. You will experience the goosebumps that run up your arms like waves when you see him walk across the stage in the pouring rain and you’re screaming because he finally graduated. The name Cassidy suddenly has a beautiful ring to it. Skype will be the most important invention ever created.
You will have a new appreciation for time. The news will be a favorite channel of yours. People will cuss you out for supporting the military. Be kind to those people anyway. Your curiosity for what’s happening in foreign countries will be spiked. He’ll be driving you to Waffle House one morning, listening to some metal band and drumming away on your thigh and you will feel alive as the morning breeze from the open window hits your face.Your own clothes won’t be important anymore. What is important is what hoodie and shirt of his you will be wearing today. Holidays will be come and go without him and you will have to spend them with a cardboard cut out of him instead.
Your favorite blanket isn’t your comforter anymore but the old, black blanket he had in college that has holes in it. From now on, if you meet anyone in the military you will automatically have a bond. And for the first time, you will be woken up at 5 am (4 am in your home’s time zone) by seven different alarms, hear him cuss and swear as he pulls his boots on and feel like you can imagine yourself doing this every morning. You will meet his family and start to care about them because in a weird way they know part of what you’re going through. They know goodbye and hello all too well too.
You will have to deal with the thought of deployment and how hard schooling is on him. You’ll have to learn how to make a relationship work 923 miles away. It will be hard. You’ll cry. A lot.
But this will all be worth it. You have no way to know that when watching him walk away for the first time. As you’re standing there in your bare feet, with your hair still a mess, teeth not brushed and still in your pjs, you have no idea what beautiful adventure you are about to embark on. Be the girlfriend of a sailor and be proud of it. Matter of fact, be obnoxious about it and embrace every second.