When I first watched Z take his oath to join the Army almost 5 years ago, I had no idea what the future would hold for us. I stood there and watched him commit to a lifestyle that was completely foreign to me. But I loved him and I wanted to go on that adventure with him.
I watched him take that oath again last Friday. And as I listened to him swear to protect this great nation, all of these emotions came running back. I listed to his old company commander talk about their first deployment to Afghanistan. I fought back tears as he talked about how scary that deployment was and how they lost some good guys over there. I remembered how scared I was that something would happen to him and he wouldn’t make it home to meet his unborn son. I thought back to the day I almost lost him and how difficult that year was for both of us. How we were changed because of it but will be forever bonded by it.
I thought back to our life in Fort Drum and the wonderful friends we had there. I thought about raising our son in the North Country and then finding out we were expecting our daughter. I remembered packing up and moving back to Ohio while he went to school. I remembered how it felt to move to Georgia and not know anyone, and to welcome our daughter into the world a few days later. I thought back on the days and nights we sat discussing our decision and whether or not we would continue down the road of military life. And how even four days before reenlisting we weren’t sure what we were going to do.
But most of all, I remembered how much I love him. That life has been a roller coaster over the past few years but the one thing that hasn’t changed is how much I love him. I can remember listening to a priest give a homily about love. I vividly remember his point that there are going to be times in a marriage where one person may love the other person more but that’s okay. Because that’s life and that’s real. But at the end of the day, the point is that you still love each other and you’ll be there for each other through thick and thin.
I knew the day I met Z that he was my person. I knew the first time I kissed him I had just had my last first kiss. Our life has been a whirlwind thus far but I know he’s the only one I was ever meant to spend it with. He may drive me crazy and he may get on my nerves sometimes, but I love him for him. Not for being perfect, because no one is. But for the way he leaves me little notes on the Keurig in the morning. Or for doing the dishes and just laughing at me when I leave the sink full of them. Or when I fill the trash to the top and don’t take it out. Despite it bothering him to no tomorrow, he loves me anyways.
Marriage isn’t easy. There have been times when I’ve questioned it and thought “is this for me?” Times when I wanted to throw my hands in the air and walk away. Not because I didn’t love him, but because it was hard. Because it’s easy to just breakup when you’re dating and it’s a weird feeling to be married and not have that option. If you walk away, it’s forever. And that’s not something I ever wanted to do because he is my forever. So even on the darkest days, I knew that wasn’t an option. We grew stronger and closer when there were tough days and because of it, were able to enjoy the good times that much more.
He makes me laugh when he quotes movies with me. He knows when I’m having a bad day and don’t want to be touched. He’s the first person I call when I’m upset and just want to hear his voice. He’s the one who will finish a whole bag of Homestyle popcorn and throw back 4 beers with me on a weeknight when it’s been a bad day. He’s my biggest supporter, cheerleader, best friend, ride or die and my soulmate. And as we embark on this next chapter of our life, I’ll be right where I was the day we started this journey together. Right next to him, holding his hand, and ready for whatever the rest of our story might be.