A Wicked Good Welcome

Hey, friends!

I haven’t been great at updating this lately, but I will be offering an explanation for all of that soon enough. It’s partly been because I have been pretty sick on and off lately — with POTS and with some other goofy things going on! The other half, though, you will find out very soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a new newspaper interview I did that was shared in another newspaper, Wicked Local Foxborough. Did I share the first article yet? I will in a few days just so I have all my bases covered!

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Anyway, I’ll have a million and one things to write about soon, but in the meantime I just want to take another minute to thank everyone who has been so kind and helped in any and every way you could. I know this was such a longshot, but I am all about trying to give the very best to my loved ones. Robert certainly is a special person, and I really can’t wait to welcome him home. No matter what, I will be the luckiest girl in the entire world very soon. I can’t wait.

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.

Dear Soldier,

You tell me not to worry about you and that you’re safe where you are — that’s cute.

If I didn’t worry about your safety I would worry about our relationship. You are in a country I would not be allowed to travel to even if I wanted to. I follow world news like I never have in the past. I pray every single day for you, and life has never felt quite as fragile as it does right now.

The days without you go by slowly, but the months feel even slower. How are you not home yet? Most of the time I am awake you are sleeping or at work. You don’t always have Internet, so I try to distract myself when I haven’t heard from you and do all I can to stay strong for you. In my old relationship if I had gone a day without hearing from my significant other but he was active on social media I would be angry. With you, though, it’s the biggest relief. It means you’re safe. I feel secure in our relationship, even from thousands of miles away or a few days of silence because I know you still care for me, as I do for you.

Even before we met I cried happy tears when I saw videos of soldiers’ homecomings. I still do, but now I just can’t wait until that is finally us. I wonder what it must feel like to have your soldier finally home; I don’t know if I can even handle that much excitement. The past 7 months that’s just been a dream of mine. Have you ever won the jackpot in the lottery? Your homecoming will be even more exciting than that. Most people never get to have a day filled with such pure joy and relief. I would choose having you home over any amount of wealth the world could offer.

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One of the hardest days of my life was saying goodbye.

I’ve learned that you can’t take time with someone for granted, and I know I’ll be able to appreciate you even more when you’re home again. Right now our love is hard and hurts my heart, but one day the word “deployment” won’t bring the same kind of anxiety and sadness. Instead, it will be something I can say we conquered — together.

I love you. Be careful with my heart and stay safe.

This Love Is Ours

Today was one of the particularly hard days. Deployments aren’t fun for anyone, but I’ve really gained a new perspective to what people go through when their significant other goes away overseas.

I try to keep my composure as I drive to my favorite coffee shop to sit down and write. I flip through the radio stations until one sits well with me. The song finishes as I keep my eyes glued to the road; it’s the only thing I can do to not completely break down.

Taylor Swift’s “Ours” comes on and it’s words have a new meaning now than when it first came out. I want to change it, but my hands don’t seem to be cooperating with my brain. I notice the car in front of me has a tiny “Army Strong” sticker at the bottom left of the bumper. My eyes feel full.

When a Ford F-150 glides to a stop at the light next to me, I pull over, gripping the steering wheel with all the strength I have. I rest my head on it, and the tears feel like rain spilling into my lap.

I wonder why the world has to be so screwed up that innocent people need to try and fix all of the problems. I feel like the most selfish person in the world because my soldier has it a lot harder than I do and because I just want him home and suddenly don’t care about the rest of the world. My heart misses him, and I feel like I don’t remember what it’s like to have a hand to hold. This long distance has been the easiest I’ve done, in the sense that I don’t ever question where we stand with each other, but it’s also one of the most painful things in the world watching someone you love go somewhere you can’t keep him safe. Not knowing that everything will be okay is far worse than just missing him.

I sniffle, alone in my car, and realize I have to keep it together for myself and my significant other. I wipe my eyes and smudge the mascara further across my cheek. I shift the gear into “drive,” and muster up the courage to go into the warm, bright cafe after fixing my makeup again.

I force myself to smile when I finally order my coffee.

I’m tired of being strong; I never had the years of training that make someone “Army Strong,” and don’t feel like I fit in. Love is sometimes simple, but other times it’s feeling everything all at once.

Adventures With The Army: Part 2

Now that you have the background, let’s get into the really fun details of this date.

After I stopped giggling from excitement, we grabbed a cab to the closest shopping mall, which happened to be a kind of fantastic one called Arundel Mills. This mall was not only equipped with dozens of great restaurants and shops, but it also had a movie theater, Medieval Times, and even a Casino right in the middle of everything.

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Cute seatbelt, Rob.

We started our day at Dave and Busters.

I honestly don’t remember the last time I laughed so much. We raced in Mario Kart (Typical Robert and Krista fun), played Wheel of Fortune, and I watched as he threw baseballs at scary looking clowns to win a prize. He ended up winning the game, but I wonder if my laughter ruined his focus at all — my abs were sore for two days after that workout!

He won two hilarious bears after I informed him that the claw games were “impossible,” and gave me the card filled with tickets to go back again with my best friend. I don’t know why, but he seems to be the one who is “always right.” This doesn’t seem fair, as I’m the girl — aren’t we supposed to have that privilege? Thankfully he understands his duty and we both pretend that I am.

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After working up an appetite, we headed to a Mexican restaurant to eat and visit more. I still couldn’t stop smiling.

Towards the end of the meal I felt a little twinge of sadness, as I realized we only had a few hours left with one another. We decided to move the party to the movie theater so we could snuggle a little and steal a kiss or two. The Jungle Book just happened to match up with our schedule, so we grabbed our 3D glasses and got cozy in the large leather seats.

I felt so happy and at peace all snuggled up to my guy. Sometimes you have those moments in life where you are truly living in the present and don’t have a care in the world — this was one of those times. Nothing else mattered, I was just happy to be with him and grateful for our day together.

The magic was coming to an end, though, and we took a cab back to the airport so we could visit a little longer until it was time for him to board his plane to the Middle East.

Sadly, that time was short-lived when some of his team members (squad? fraternity? I don’t ever seem to ever get the military lingo right…) were stopped before boarding. Somehow this was a problem only Robert could solve, so he gazed at me apologetically as he made phone calls and talked to people at the airport about how they weren’t going to stay in Western Europe — they just needed to change planes there in order to get to their final destination.

Time flew, and before we knew it we had to say goodbye. This was the second time we parted ways before he went overseas, since I wasn’t supposed to see him again after our trip to Richmond. I left feeling strangely happy, and was shocked I didn’t cry this time. It must have been because I felt so blessed to have a few hours together and about 4 dates in one that day.

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#airportselfie

My dad pulled up to the front of the airport and I hopped into the car, ready to begin the journey home. I felt at peace. Somehow it didn’t really feel real — it didn’t feel like he was leaving, and  I didn’t think about the 9 months that separated us from being together.

I stared out the window, absentmindedly counting the gates as we rolled by. My phone buzzed gently in my lap, and my hand grazed over the screen to see who was summoning me. I squealed in excitement when I read the text.

to be continued…