Robert’s Homecoming

I am finally getting around to writing about Robert’s homecoming!

I’ve always known that whenever I get engaged I am going to wait a few days before announcing it to everyone so that I can just sit and enjoy the moment with my close loved ones. I love social media, but I think there’s something special about keeping some moments private. This is kind of how I felt about Robert’s first week back. I waited to announce that he was home because I really wanted to be able to thoroughly enjoy the moment without the million texts that I knew would come — which I also loved when the time was right!

Robert came home on a rainy Saturday evening, and I had jitters the entire day I was waiting to pick him up. I woke up in a little bit of a daze, but decided I just had to do everything I needed to get ready. The day before I had picked up a giant bouquet of balloons, made a welcome home sign, and talked to my best friend about when we would need to go to the airport. The week prior I had received a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses from The Bouqs Co so that I would be ready for his return as soon as he informed me he’d be home. You see, the Army is all about the element of surprise, so I didn’t know exactly when Robert would be back until the day before his flight.

Going to the airport was a kind of strange experience. I had waited for this moment for months. Since the day Robert left to be exact. Every day he was gone I thought about how incredible the moment would be when he got back. I thought about his return for 10 long months… Now that it was finally here it didn’t feel real!

Waiting in the airport was a strange form of torture. On one hand it was incredible the moment Robert set foot on US soil. As soon as he texted me I felt a heavy weight leave my shoulders, as I knew he was finally safe. On the other hand, though, Robert’s plane being fifteen minutes later than I had expected felt like such a tease. It was funny because I knew I was being ridiculous feeling antsy. After all, what is ten minutes in comparison to ten months of waiting?

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I did the math. It’s .00023% of the deployment. That is essentially nothing.

Seeing Robert for the first time is indescribable. Partly because yes, I was excited, but the other part of me felt really confused. He’s not supposed to be here, said a part of my brain. This isn’t real, said another. Robert isn’t going to be staying was the loudest part of my brain. Instead of being able to be ecstatic about having someone I loved so much back in my arms I felt kind of shaken by it. Yes, my brain knew Robert had told me he’d be around for a very long time now, but my heart didn’t believe it. I was so used to him being gone that it couldn’t register that he was actually here to stay. Our entire relationship has known this deployment. Even when I started dating Robert six months before he went overseas I knew he was going to be eventually leaving.

Since we’ve had just over two weeks together now I am starting to feel like things are normal. It definitely took a bit of time, and I’m still trying to adjust to the realization that I can see Robert whenever I want to, but my heart is finally starting to catch up with everything that’s going on.

Robert is here to stay. We can finally go out and continue to date each other in a really normal setting. He’ll still be in the Army, but the only time he’ll really be away from me is one weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer. I am so beyond excited to start a new chapter together. I will definitely keep you posted on our new adventures together as a normal twentysomething couple. Goodbye deployment, and good riddance 6,500 miles!

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I Am Army Strong

I once said I didn’t feel like I belonged in this world because I’m not strong enough for it. Now I realize, though, that I was wrong. If I wasn’t strong enough to be an Army girlfriend I wouldn’t have made it through an entire deployment, relationship in tact. If I wasn’t strong enough I wouldn’t have stayed faithful every second of every day, and we wouldn’t have grown together as a couple as much as we have. It’s actually been a really amazing experience (In hindsight, of course) because we’ve gotten to know each other in a lot of different ways that we wouldn’t have without this kind of strenuous long distance.


If deployments were easy every couple would make it through them, but sadly that’s not the way it is. Plenty of people break up, and significant others leave in the middle of a deployment because it’s just too hard. Not only is the worrying hard, but it’s not easy loving someone 6,000 miles away when all you want to do is hold their hand and know that they’re safe. On the soldier’s side, it isn’t easy being so far away from home and having so many new factors thrown at you in a new environment. I’m not really sure what causes the unfaithfulness on that side, but I will have to talk to Robert and see if he might write about some of the hardships he faced being away from home to get the other perspective of a relationship like that.


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This is one of my favorite shirts. So much so that I wrote a blog post about it awhile back! I’ll post that in the next few weeks.
I didn’t for one second of this deployment question whether I wanted to be with this Robert. He’s my guy, and I’m hoping we’ll keep growing as close as we have in the time we’ve been dating!



I’m lucky too, because I know without a doubt that Robert felt the exact same way I did. If nothing else I learned an incredibly important lesson about how trust plays out in a relationship. Even though we couldn’t always talk and I didn’t have a clue as to what he was doing half the time, I trust him fully with my heart. I’ve been with people in the past who I haven’t felt like had my best interest at heart, and the anxiety worrying about what they’re doing just fifteen minutes away from where I am is not fun.


When you trust someone completely you are able to turn off the part of your brain that worries about whether or not they’re doing something that would hurt you and focus on the present in your own life instead. Rather than wasting time coming up with the hundreds of imaginary scenarios of what could be happening, your heart is at ease knowing your guy would never do something that he knows would hurt you. This doesn’t mean he’ll never mistakes or never make you feel bad, but it does mean that he cares about your well-being and puts your relationship above his own desires when necessary.


This relationship has taught me that I can be with someone who makes my heart feel at ease and I certainly don’t have to always be the one who compromises to make things work or change the way I feel about something to please my partner. Instead, I can have healthy communication with a man (Young Krista never would have believed a guy would actually know how to communicate effectively with a girl he was dating — Turns out there are so many men who really do know how to talk about something and then follow through with it!), and prioritize my relationship without having it consume my entire world.


Lastly, being strong by yourself is hard. I’ve learned that lesson through having a chronic illness. When I am able to swallow my pride and ask for the help I often need, the pain and sickness I do have to deal with become just a little bit lighter. When you have other people to be strong with you, that’s when life really becomes a beautiful journey — even if you have a lot of hurdles to jump over along the way. I wouldn’t have traded Robert for anything, and feel so blessed to have had someone so great to do this deployment with. This was still one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but we both communicate with one another so well that I can’t imagine it could have been any easier than it was, considering the circumstances.


Today’s lesson: Be with someone who lifts you up and wants to be there for you when times get tough. There are people who will hold your hand through hardships, rather than retreating and watching from afar while you do all the work. Yes, I think sometimes in life you need to take turns leaning on one another — and sometimes one person in the relationship will need more help, and that’s okay — but I also believe you should be with someone who is equally committed to the relationship as you are. That way when times do get tough, you know they are still in it for the long haul.

Left Behind

When I tell people that my boyfriend is deployed, they are often very kind about it and tell me to thank him for his service, then go on to ask about our relationship a little. Honestly, our communication has been surprisingly good under these strange circumstances and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime to do a long distance, long term deployment with. This doesn’t mean the deployment was ever easy, though.

One thing people often don’t really understand  is how much waiting you really have to do, and how much your heart can hurt from missing your person. Worrying about how they are doing never really comes to a complete stop until they’re home — and depending on the circumstances if they are still enlisted and able to be deployed there’s always a little nervous flutter in the back of your heart.

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As I’ve mentioned before, this was not part of my plan. I never in a million years thought I would date someone in the military, much less fall in love with someone who was leaving on a deployment. Before I met Robert I vowed my next relationship would be simple and that the furthest I wanted to be from a boyfriend was a short drive away. Maybe I would date someone in the city, but no more long distance for me. God must have laughed when He saw what I had planned in my own mind. He probably smiled, too, when he saw Robert send me that first OK Cupid message, and is certainly too kind to rub it in my face that I was wrong about the direction my life was going in — again.

I’m honestly really surprised I didn’t cry very much the past 10 months, as that was always what I thought long distance was supposed to look like. Now I know what a healthy and unhealthy love looks like, and realize that even when things get really hard with someone you don’t need to feel upset all the time. I definitely had my share of lonely nights and a small amount of tears shed here and there, but I would be concerned if my heart didn’t miss someone I care about very much.

One primary mode of communication is Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and FaceTime when Robert has a good enough connection and a little bit of privacy. This is a screenshot he took one day. I’d definitely consider my “ugly cry” along the lines of Kim Kardashian’s, but even my little sniffles like this could probably hold a candle to Kim’s signature look.

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Puffy faced and close to tearing up from a very real #deploymentsucks moment. Luckily Robert always did a great job making me laugh on the days that seemed harder than usual!

The reason I want to share this photo with you is not to show off how puffy or red my face gets when I’m upset (Though I do think I might outshine Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in that regard), and I certainly don’t want you to picture this the next time I talk about a tearful goodbye. The reason I think this is important to share is I am almost DONE with this incredibly tough stage of a relationship, but a lot of other people aren’t. I think the women who are left behind often get overlooked, as we are still safe and sound at home. Our hearts don’t feel really safe until the moment our soldier is home, though.

I encourage you to check in on friends who might be going through this. Not only the soldiers, but also the ones they leave behind. It is HARD being the one at home with the same schedule, but having a gaping whole in our normal social life (and I’d be willing to bet I have more support than many other women do). Hugs, coffee dates, cards, and then more hugs are more appreciated than you could ever know. Even if you have never been in this position before, I think most of us can relate to missing a loved one. Deployments just add a sense of danger to the mix, as well as long stretches of silence, and a generous dose of uncertainty.

I am fine, (That picture was from about halfway through the deployment — when it felt like forever since I saw Robert, and still forever until I would see him again and I was just having a rough night overall) but remember this message every time you meet someone who’s significant other is deployed, and give them some extra love. Soldiers give up so many comforts of a nice home, normal meals, and safety to fight for our country. We should all be so proud of them. The mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, girlfriends and boyfriends of soldiers are all sacrificing so much as well. I can think of so many other people who I’m sure also had an incredibly difficult time with Robert’s deployment, and he’s just one person on his team. When you take the entirety of the military and add their friends and family to the mix, there are thousands of people sacrificing for each and every deployed team out there. Remember to be kind to them, and know that just because someone has a wonderful person to love, it isn’t easy when they go on this long and tiring journey.

Today’s lesson: It never, ever hurts to be kind to everyone you meet. Life can be so hard sometimes, but often even a little smile can brighten someone else’s day. I know there were so many moments I missed Robert and couldn’t do anything about it, but the kindness of a stranger made my heart feel a little more at ease. As my favorite Bible verse (1 Peter 4:8) says, “Above all, love each other deeply…”

So. Much. Hype.

Oh my goodness, I am so exhausted! Planning for someone to come home from a deployment is a heck of a lot of work. I know, I know, I’ve had over 9 months to plan, but there are a lot of reasons I didn’t start this until about a month ago.

First, I didn’t have the idea to try to make this happen until December 15th when Tom Brady posted about leaving UGGs around Massachusetts.

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As soon as I saw these posts I was like, “Oh my gosh, I HAVE to try to get him to meet Robert.” I know, I know, what are the chances of that actually happening? But I feel like I’ve had several moments in my life where I’ve been shocked that something really incredible and unbelievable has happened. Like this time I went to the Jingle Ball and got to interview a bunch of celebrities — including Flo Rida, Ke$ha, Ed Sheeran, Enriqueee Iglesias and a bunch of other people I didn’t listen to very much. My favorite moment of all was asking Flo Rida this “Would You Rather” question (I cringed watching this, but sucked it up because we’re all family here, right?):

Anyway, my strange luck with celebrities gave me the hope that even though there is a less than 1 in a million chance Tom Brady would say yes — especially during playoff season — that I might as well try. It’s been awkward posting so much about something, but I honestly think Robert is worth embarrassing myself a million times in a row if I had to. This happens to be the most perfect thing I could ever think about doing for him, and even if I gave Robert a meeting with Tom Brady I’d still feel like he deserved so much more.

Robert is one of the most kind, genuine, thoughtful, and selfless people I know, which is why I want to do everything I possibly can to give him wonderful things in life.

Another reason I hadn’t started planning this “Welcome Home” until about a month ahead of time was because these past 9 months have felt absolutely endless. Deployments are so hard on both parties, but Robert and I definitely agree that this time apart has felt very different for each of us. Time has flown by for him, as he has been so busy traveling all around the Middle East and working 7 days a week. For me, though, the time has crawled by. My days consist of working out, going to a million different doctors, and trying anything I possibly can to get better. Sometimes this means just resting a lot. This is hard enough on it’s own when you have an active mind like I do, but it’s far worse when you are really missing someone. Planning a “Welcome Home” surprise months in advance is like trying to plan the most exciting party of your life months ahead of when it’s actually happening. I think part of the reason I don’t like prepping for Christmas until after Thanksgiving is because I just can’t keep all that hype going much longer than a month!

I’m going to keep pushing forward to get some sort of New England Patriots welcome put together for when Robert is back. I’ll keep working until the day he gets back, then I’ll be able to relax and enjoy his company again. I have a few phone meetings this week, so please wish me luck! And as I’ve said in my previous posts — please watch and share this video!

Thank you so much, and I will surely keep y’all posted!

Homecoming

GUYS. In less than a month Robert will be HOME and it will be the first time in four years that I live near a boyfriend. This. Is. Mindblowing.

I feel like I’m just so used to long distance that I don’t even remember what it’s like doing the “pop in” to someone. I’m not used to being able to see a boyfriend on random weeknights or having someone around for double date nights.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at all nervous — long distance is so hard, but being in the same area and seeing each other more frequently definitely does change a relationship… But I’m a million times more excited than I am nervous.

BECAUSE ROBERT IS COMING HOME!!!!!!!!

I’ve had a lot of time to prepare, but it’s hard keeping the hype level at an all-time high. A few weeks ago when it first hit me I was stoked. I’m still excited, but it just doesn’t necessarily feel real. He’s been gone so long now that I’m just kind of used to living life here and chatting with him whenever possible in the morning hours.

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Making the video for Tom Brady was definitely a great way to pass the time, but it’s been a heck of a lot of work! I’ve been able to do a few interviews with Foxboro reporters, and spent a lot of time emailing contacts that people have given me — though none of them have worked out yet. Gosh darn it, WHY did Robert have to come home during peak football season?! Everyone is so busy and based off of some of the responses I have gotten it’s really not the best time of year to do this. I’m still hopeful, though, that something great will come of all of this.

I don’t know too much about football — I had to do quite a bit of research about Tom Brady when I decided to make this video. If I were to try to meet someone for myself I would have to choose the triple threat of Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, and Ellen DeGeneres. I understand how the entertainment world works, and I had to do quite a bit of celebrity research and interviews during my time at Seventeen magazine. I feel confident in my abilities in that realm, however, football is completely different. I don’t know how to appeal to fans in that world, and I certainly don’t know what the players are like!

My whole point in doing this and putting myself out there was to make this the best, most special welcome home I possibly could for Robert. I did feel uncomfortable making a video, and I did feel weird about posting it all over the internet. I swallowed my pride, though, and did everything I could to try to make this happen for Robert — no matter how crazy it seems.

Regardless of whatever happens, though, I get to see him in a matter of WEEKS. How absolutely crazy is this?! I’ve written so much about how hard a deployment is to get through that I don’t even know what it’s like having him home anymore. I can’t wait to update you on that.

Thank you for following along my journey, and I’m excited to share so much more with y’all. I will be writing one reminder, though, about relationships and a few things you are going to have to remember when reading my blog moving forward. That will be in my next post this week. In the meantime, happy Tuesday!

My Heart Is Deployed

My friends who know Robert know he’s not crazy active on social media; he definitely doesn’t have a blog I can go to and read about all of his thoughts and feelings when I miss him (And in a lot of ways I’m glad there aren’t two of us who pour our hearts out to the world — that might just be a little much in one relationship, ha!).

I was missing him a little more than usual last night and did what any millennial would — I went to his Facebook page to feel like I had some sort of connection with him while he was away at work. We don’t get to talk a ton except during my mornings or afternoons, so nighttime is a particularly difficult time for me.

I smiled at the pictures I’ve come to know so well, and teared up at the one of us the day before we had to say goodbye. Then I saw something really strange on his page. He had written a Facebook status on Thanksgiving expressing gratitude towards his friends, family, and coworkers, but included this little line in the middle of it:

“I can’t believe the holiday season is here… It was over 8 months ago that I left Virginia, but the time has gone by quickly.”

What. The. Heck?!?!

IN WHAT WORLD HAS TIME GONE BY QUICKLY?!

I flash back to February when we said “goodbye” to our weekend visits. I barely even remember what it’s like to see someone outside my family that regularly.

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My best friend Audrey, once again, took this photo soon after Robert left for his deployment. It was so great to find this sign randomly at one of our photoshoots.

Then I think back to March and saying goodbye in Richmond. Okay, I’ll give him that, the emotions are still raw from watching him leave at 4:30 in the morning. I still can’t go back to that day without feeling really torn up about it. I am certain deep down to my core that the day we said goodbye in Richmond is exactly what leaving for a deployment is supposed to feel like. I remember walking him out to the bus, holding his hand and feeling tears dance right behind my eyes, but holding them in as best as I possibly could until I was able to run back into the lobby and break down. I remember feeling the way Kim Kardashian must when she does her signature “ugly cry” in front of everyone in the hotel lobby. When the man at the front desk asked if I was okay and came over to try to help me feel better, he put his hand on my shoulder and had a look of pity in his eyes I didn’t recognize because I hadn’t ever earned it before. This was the first time I showed that much of myself to a stranger. I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized in that moment that was now one of the people I had always felt bad for in the past. I was someone who had to watch a loved one leave to serve for my country, and I had someone to worry about for the next ten months.

I think back to Baltimore in April and the two precious days we had together after we thought we wouldn’t see each other again until January or February. I remember that day so well too, but it feels so long ago.

As does the first week of him being gone and the many little moments I’ve collected along the way where I’ve tried my hardest to muster up just enough strength to keep pressing forward, even when I feel like my heart might not be able to handle another day of everything a deployment has to offer. Missing him often feels kind of the same day-to-day, but I can think back to several particularly difficult moments. Pulling my car to the side of the road to cry, attending weddings and events as the only couple-less one of our group, and spending  many chilly fall evenings in my PJs by myself wishing I had a snuggle buddy to name just a few.

Time is such a funny thing, and though it’s seemed very different to each of us, we both have experienced the exact same amount of time apart. We’ve also been blessed to spend the same amount with each other; it just somehow never feels like enough to me.

I’m hoping we’ll get lots of time together when he’s back. Time is easily the most valuable thing I own, and I love spending it on the people I care about most in life. I may hate deployments, but I absolutely love my soldier.

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This is a picture of Robert meeting Governor Terry McAuliffe at his departure ceremony.

Army Tags Are My Most Valuable Piece Of Jewelry

I have a journal that I write in every day of the year. It asks me a different question every day and it’s been really fun seeing the different answers I have each year — I’m always surprised to find how much I have grown in 365 days.

Last year I wrote “my Macbook Air” as my most valuable material possession. This year without skipping a beat, I wrote “Robert’s dog tags.”

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His dog tags are special to me for so many different reasons. First, they remind me of our time in Richmond at his deployment ceremony. He was packing all of his bags and turned to me with a smile and handed me his tags. I looked at them and thought they were cool, then he asked if I wanted to keep them. I teared up; I hadn’t ever had a boyfriend who was so excited to give me something of his before. I had asked for a sweatshirt or two, but never wanted to be too pushy about stealing a guy’s stuff.

Another reason I love them is because they were the dog tags he got when he joined the military 8 years ago. They’ve been through a lot of training and adventures, and I feel like I have a piece of him while he’s gone. When I first got them I proudly jingled around the house until I picked up a pair of silencers. Robert has given me some beautiful jewelry, but this is by far my favorite piece.

They’re something I keep safe next to my bed and fall asleep with in my hand at night. I know it’s weird holding onto two pieces of cold, clunky metal, but to me they’re a lot more than that. They’re a little piece of someone I love very much. It almost feels like a friendship bracelet, as I have these pieces and he has his own pair with the same information on it.

I read the material I already know by heart when I miss him; seeing his name and numbers makes my heart warm. Wearing the dog tags make me feel strong and like I can handle just one more day. When you’re doing a 9 month deployment that’s all you really can do. Take each day as it comes to you.

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I do think Robert has better taste in jewelry than I do, though… This was my birthday present this year!

We only have a few months left, but they feel like an eternity. I’ve been a pro at long distance relationships for awhile now, but this is different. Going on a deployment isn’t for the faint of heart, but being left at home for one isn’t either. I have so much respect for military families, and keep all of the soldiers and their loved ones in my prayers now.

Thank you to those of you who risk your life or the life of a loved one for this country. You are amazing, and the reason America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. God Bless.