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.

My Second Love

People always make a big deal about how your first love will always have a special place in your heart. While I believe this is true and that you learn a lot from your first love, I’d like to focus more on my second. I have some special memories with my first boyfriend I’ll treasure forever, but hot damn, my second blew that first one out of the water.

My second love is the one who taught me that although the first person I thought would be my forever didn’t work out that there are, in fact, people who are an even better fit for me and that my heart can learn to love again. He made me feel like I hadn’t even known what love and passion looked like before, and I often found myself telling him that I didn’t realize men could be the attentive and caring person he was toward me in a relationship.

Falling in love a second time was twice as scary, but twice as beautiful as the first.

The second time I fully knew what a terrible heartbreak looked like. I was wary and cautious and didn’t want another boyfriend, but quickly realized I was powerless when it came to him. He was the exception to my rule, and there was no stopping me from falling for him — hard. Now, several months in, I couldn’t be happier that I let my guard down, took a risk, and let myself fall in love all over again.

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Today’s lesson: Have you ever met someone and wondered what in the world you did to deserve such a great human in your life? I think when you get to have that person as your significant other you should hold on to them as tightly as you possibly can. Love is one of the most beautiful things this world has to offer, so when your heart finds itself ready to love again, let it — even though it’s one of the scariest things you could possibly do.