Deployment is… a whole mess of emotions that I don’t even have a word for. It was like going through puberty, it was like I was dating a ghost, the beginning, middle and end all had totally different vibes to them.
*For the safety of my sailor and his boat, there are no dates, locations or names posted. The article has been written and posted after his underway was long done and over. OPSEC for the win.
I have been very fortunate in the fact that, for the first two years of this adventure, I have been able to speak to my sailor on the daily minus bootcamp of course. I actually forgot what it was like to not speak to him for more than 24 hours. After he graduated from all of his schooling, he came home for a month of leave, left for his first duty station and shortly after came the first underway. For those of you that don’t know, underways are like mini deployments that only last maybe a month or two at most.
This was like bootcamp all over again. And it sucked. He said his goodbyes over text to me and that was it. So began the first underway.
Military relationships are not Dear John. It’s not romantic. It’s not wonderful. When you ask a little girl where she sees herself one day, most likely, the answer will not be sleeping in a bed by herself while her husband is fighting a war and her kids are asking where daddy is.
Most people already understand that so it’s no surprise that I often get asked the question, “Why would you ever put yourself through that?”
I asked myself that same question when I first met Taylor. We met at a small gathering of friends and he kept talking about leaving for bootcamp in a few weeks and how excited he was. Being a military girlfriend was never in my plans and I never even thought about what it would be like. Actually, believe it or not, it was a deal breaker for me.
But our second date was when I saw Taylor. And I don’t mean literally. I had my contacts in that first time and could see just fine. I saw what kind of person he was. After that second date I felt like I had just met my best friend. It was the best and easiest date that I had ever been on. I drove home and battled with my previous thoughts and what I considered to be a deal breaker.
I didn’t choose the military. I wasn’t on the hunt for a single, military man. I really don’t like the long distance and the worry. I don’t want him to be deployed. I don’t want to move far away from my family and be alone a good majority of the time. I hate that one day I will have to explain to my kids why their dad can’t be at their sports tournament. I didn’t ask for any of that.
But I did choose him. And that’s where people start to lose understanding. I chose to be with someone who works hard and who treats me better than anyone. If I was going to live 1,000 miles from anyone, I wanted it to be him. And no one I have ever met was worth me leaving my little hometown until I met Taylor. And if my kids had any father, any man to look up to, I’d want it to be a man who works hard, loves his family and loves his country too. A man that is courageous in both heart and spirit.
I don’t want any sympathy. I didn’t want a military relationship so I could be the victim. I didn’t want this so I could go out and see other men but still have the security of a relationship.
When you love a person, and I mean truly love a person, you take the good with the bad. Being a military girlfriend wasn’t ideal for me but all the other good things far outweighed any anxieties I had.
I chose to love another with everything that I have…even if he chooses to wear a uniform.
“I need to tell you something. Before I get into it, I want you to know the reason I am telling you this. I want you to save this or screenshot this or whatever it takes to hold onto this for a couple different reasons.
When you have days where you need a little extra lovin’, I want you to look at this. When we are in the midst of a disagreement, I want you to look at this. When I am deployed and gone and you haven’t heard from me in days or weeks, I want you to look at this.
You, my dear, are the absolute greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Either there’s no scale of comparison or if I put you on a scale, nothing else comes close. You have been my rock, paper and scissors. When I needed someone to just bitch, moan and groan to, you have been there to listen. Whether it’s literally been just to hear and say nothing or to give advice, you’ve been there to lean on.
When I’ve felt broken or defeated, you’ve told me it’ll be okay and you’ve motivated me to push forward and you’ve held me together. When I’ve been wrong or been an asshole, you’ve been there to tear me apart (in a good sense) and make me grow as a man and mature and learn to admit when I am wrong.
I’m not going to lie, I think most people do this in relationships but I’ve searched for something about you that I don’t love and I haven’t found a thing. Not. One. Damn. Thing.
We have our disagreements, we have our fights, we have our near break ups but I wouldn’t trade it for the world and there is no other girl I’d rather struggle through life with than you.
I love that we don’t have everything in common. If we did, it’d be boring. We’d have nothing to introduce each other to.
I love your independence. I am more than willing to support you on anything you need but I love the fire inside you that drives you to support yourself.
I love your laugh. I remember the first time I heard it and fell in love with it. It was the first time you visited me in Charleston and that guy dropped his gas can on the expressway.
…You fit perfectly in my arms. I love your thighs. They are the perfect drumming pads when we’re jamming in the car. I love holding your hand and kissing your cheek in public. I want the world to know that I am the luckiest man alive to call you mine.
I love your dedication to me and my job. Your constant support and sacrifice is unwavering and I am undeserving yet everyday it’s there without hesitation.
I love your career progression. You are finding yourself and your purpose and fighting through all the obstacles that stand in your way.
I love that you are the strongest person in my life and in the world. You balance so many curveballs day in and day out but wake up every day ready to swing away.
I love that you are mine. I love that you are my definition of perfection and you are on my side. Through all the ups and downs, through the brutal fights from miles apart, I wouldn’t trade a second of it. I want to do everything there is to do, see everything there is to see in the world with you.
To summarize all of this in three words, I love you.”
I hear all the stories. The ones where a sailor comes home and the house that once held his valuables, his life and his wife is now completely vacant. The girl who waited at home and kept the house and kids up and running for months at a time finds out her deployed husband cheated. I have even heard recently that women wait at ports to try and persuade military men into sleeping with them.