Friday, May 30, 2008

R&R Memory

So the back story here is I have a small bladder when it comes to traveling and drinking things prior to said travel. On the road trip to Gatlanburg I had to stop and pee almost every 45 min - 1 hr. Sgt. was so patient though and never complained, he just kind of laughed to himself where I would proceed to look around the car at everyone and say "I'm sorry!" He would interject and say "it's fine baby, we can stop, we're not in a hurry."

Well, when we got to the airport in Nashville on Sunday to fly home our flight had been delayed by about an hour because of wherever it was coming from so Sgt. and I decided to go and get some dinner together. After a long dinner we sat around in the terminal and chatted. Knowing it was almost time I did go to the bathroom before we boarded the plane. Finally it was time to board and we agreed to sleep on the plane since we had a long drive home and very late at night.

*Side story interjection* Of course, we're flying southwest (which I've always had good experiences with... not knocking them at all), where you choose your own seat! Which is great when you're flying alone and have a boarding pass in the "A" group.... but when you're flying as a couple and are boarding in the "C" group... well.... once we got on the plane there were ZERO seats together. We tried making eye contact with a few people hoping they would give up their seat but no luck. Sgt. made a public announcement request to see if anyone traveling alone wouldn't mind moving seats so that he and I could sit together. (*cough*, 20 something year old male avoiding eye contact to our right... we were talking to you! *cough*) Still no one. Finally a very sweet woman about our age offered very graciously and we accepted since it looked like the only offer we were going to receive, although Sgt. was kind of upset that the only opportunity to sit with me he had was a woman giving up her seat. I thanked her probably 100 times between Nashville and our arrival city where I ran into her at baggage claim.

After the two hour flight I woke up out of my in and out sleep and as we were taxing into the gate I looked at Sgt. and smiled and then I said "I have to go to the bathroom" and he immediately without hesitation, almost as if it was a continuation of my sentence, said "I know you do babe. I knew you had to before you even said it" and then he kissed me on the forehead and kind of chuckled to himself. I laughed as well and just kind of looked out the window... I don't know why but I thought that was the most adorable thing in the world. "I know you do babe."

He's out on his first mission since he's been back from R&R....

I miss him.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One moment more

Have you heard that song by Mindy Smith? If not... go listen to it. Warning though: will likely cause tears. Eh, maybe I'm just sensitive to that sort of thing. I know some of you are busy so I'll just type ya out a little snippet of the lyrics,

Hold me, even though I know you're leaving
and show me, all the reasons you would stay.
Give me, just one part of you to cling to
and maybe, maybe I'll believe.
Oh, please don't go, let me have you just one moment more
oh, all I need, all I want is just one moment more.

"ooouuuuuccchhhhhh!!!!!!" - thats what my heart said when I watched him walk on the ramp to board his plane, when I watched him turn around one last time and blow me a kiss, when I sat in the terminal boarding area crying and waiting for his plane to take off. I don't know why this time was so hard. Of course, it's never going to be easy but I guess I just figured I would've done a LITTLE better. After he boarded the plane I sat there. I didn't intend on sitting there, he was already gone but each time I sat forward in the seat to attempt to get up, I just couldn't. I felt like I was leaving him at the airport and just walking away. I had to wait until his plane flew away before I got the strength to get up and walk out. The drive home was hazy at best and as soon as I got home I went to sleep.

Sgt. and I had been up since 7:00am the morning before (Saturday) and it was 12 noon now (on Sunday). That Saturday morning we woke up just like any other weekend morning. We laid in bed for a while and then he got up and made us coffee. I started picking up and sorting his stuff that we had to take out to his families house later on. We went together and did his laundry one last time. After laundry we got everything loaded in the car and stopped at the grocery store to pick up some food for breakfast. When we got out to his families house he and I made brunch for everyone. Sgt. cut up the fruit and created a nice little display of it. I will say this about the man, he definitely has a flair for presentation. :) We also made cinnamon rolls and biscuits, bacon and sausage. I swear I gained about 10 lbs while he was home on leave. He just kept wanting to EAT. EV-ER-Y-THING. After brunch we played cards for a little while and then he went and took a nap. After he woke up we all went out to the pasture and shot guns. Hey, we're from the country, what can I say? He was laughing at me because my favorite gun to shoot is the 357 revolver, except while I'm standing there loading it I'm dancing (in place) to whatever was playing on the radio. I believe his comment was something along the lines of "How can you be so girlie and such a tom boy at the same exact time?" After shooting for a little bit I decided I was ready for a short nap so he and I walked inside and I laid on the couch. He sat with me for a minute and then promised to come wake me up after a while. Later that evening we had his favorite dinner with his family and some of their close friends. We laughed and joked and the evening started to turn into night. He swapped pictures with everyone and packed. Then repacked. Said his goodbye's. His cousin made a joke saying "Well Sgt. I've got your car, your camera, AND your girl...and they're all stayin' here with ME" :) We eventually left his cousins at about 3 in the morning. As we were pulling out of the driveway he looked over at me and said

"I don't want this to sound morbid or whatever but if something happens to me, I want you to know that today was the best day of my life, I had everything I ever wanted for one whole day and I couldn't be happier, so please, just remember that"

"I'll remember babe, I promise"

I could feel time slipping away from us and I hated it. We made the long drive into the city he was departing out of. Neither of us had the foresight to book a hotel room in advance so when we got there, it being Memorial Day weekend and all, every hotel we stopped at was booked. We had hoped to have at least a few hours together so we could relax before he had to leave, and so he could take a shower and get ready but the time for his departing flight got closer and closer. I'll spare you the rest of the details but we FINALLY found a hotel with one available room (*cough* I'm supposed to be shipping back to Iraq in less than 2 hours, are you sure you don't have anything available *cough*) and made it up there in time to call the airline and get his flight pushed back a few more hours. Such a blessing. We didn't have to rush to say our goodbyes or get to the airport, we actually got to enjoy our last moments together.

Eventually however, the airport drop off did come. And I did put him on a plane to Dallas who then put him on a plane to Atlanta which took him to Kuwait and eventually to his FOB. He called this morning to tell me he had arrived there safely. His unit moved to a new AO while he was gone so it's a lot of changes happening constantly.

I miss him. I think the hardest part is getting back home and seeing his stuff still there but knowing he's not there. His soap is still in my shower. The pillow he slept on still smells like his cologne. I have a stack of his "civilian" clothes sitting in my chair that he folded... I just don't want to move any of it yet. I'm doing fine now. It's been a few days and things at work have been really busy so that's been a blessing. I've gotten to talk to him a couple of times either through e-mail or phone since he left so that's helped also. Like I said, I still miss him like crazy, but it's just what we do, and I'm just getting back into my routine. The silver lining in all this is that he will definitely be home sooner than he was the last stint we had to endure. Whether he gets the Green to Gold or not, it'll still be a shorter wait than before so that's awesome.

Still no word on Green to Gold by the way, still praying so hard for it. We should hear something in the next month.

Life is returning to the way it was... not normal I don't guess... just how it was :). Camp will be starting very soon and so that is keeping me on lots of caffeine, it's an exciting time though and it will make the summer fly by.

R&R was the most amazing time and I will cherish every single moment of it always. I have never felt more sure or confident in "us" than I do at this very moment and that's an amazing feeling to have. The pain in his leaving doesn't take away from the fact that I loved having him home, even if it was only for 18 days, I'm grateful for just that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Anticipatory Grief

Imagine the following conversation at about 7:15 in the morning. We've woken up, he's about an hour behind where he wanted to be in his day (seeing as he wanted to get up extra early to get some school stuff done), we've started coffee and I'm standing in a towel putting contacts in as Sgt. walks into the bathroom....

Sgt. "So, are you done being mad now?"

Me "nope"

Sgt. "Ok, well, when you are, we should talk about this and how it's so common that the Army even has a pamphlet on it. I know I deal with leaving a little bit different than everyone else, but you're acting like I'm going out of my way to be a jerk, when I'm really trying not to be for YOU... because I care. Believe it or not, this will end up being the hardest leaving I've had to do"

Me *silence and sad stare*

This entire time has been amazing, like I said, boy do I have stories!! One of them includes him changing my flight home from Maine to Tennessee so that I could spend the weekend with him because he couldn't wait another two days to see me. During that weekend, we took a road trip to Gatlanburg, took a helicopter tour of the smokey mountains and sat in front of a fire talking in a big over sized chair. The next morning he wakes me up with a cup of coffee in hand and tells me "Good morning beautiful. Here's coffee, take your time getting up and getting ready, there's no rush, but when you are ready, breakfast is almost done." I walked into the kitchen and there are flowers sitting on the table and a great breakfast with all my favorite fruit, biscuits, sausage and cheese just waiting to be devoured.

Another great story is we had a date night in Austin which is where the beginning of our story takes place.... it was also the same place we last saw each other before he left for overseas duty station and eventually Iraq. He purposefully planned the entire evening to mesh our very first date and our very last. We ate at the same restaurant and even sat in the same booth as we did on our first date. We stayed at the same hotel that we did on our last night together. We laughed and talked about the first date and how far we've come. It was an amazing night.

These are particular memories, but my favorite times have just been us being together. Watching a movie together late at night. Waking up in his arms. The man has said some of the sweetest and most considerate things he's ever said to me. Thinking about them again in my mind practically makes me melt. We've had so much fun together and it just reaffirms how much we care about each other and how well we fit into each others lives... it's almost scary.

And then the crappy part of this leave cycle begins.

Yesterday evening he texted me to inform me that he was going to Starbucks to work on some school work, alone, (that part was very apparent), and that he would call me later. After calling to see what was up (I could clearly tell from the tone of his text he was a little edgy) it was a brief and snappy conversation. I decided to let it go... I knew he was tired cause we'd stayed up the previous night till five in the morning talking about life (seriously)... I knew he was getting frustrated about not having enough hours in the day so I picked up dinner and did some stuff around the house until he got home. We had a good night, ate and talked for a little bit then went straight to bed early. This morning was good and after the alarm went off (again, for the third time) we decided to start coffee and get back in bed to cuddle for a little bit (his idea). Then once we finally got up he said something sarcastic that I scoffed about... then he kept on about it which really ticked me off. I even told him "you're seriously hurting my feelings right now" "babe, I'm kidding" "whatever"

Being the information hog that I am, I've read the "cycles of a deployment" article. Well, it's different when it's you. I mean it's not different, it's exactly how it says it is, but you don't see it or realize it all the time when it's happening to you. Luckily he's patient... however cranky the man may get, he really does care and wants the same thing I want, for us to enjoy our last few days together.

Sgt: "I'm not going to tell you how you feel, but I would say that you're probably 10% mad about what I said 5% mad because it's just this early in the morning and 85% mad because of *insert weekend day morning*"

Me: "No, I'm mad because you are starting to leave and you're not even gone yet. You're being all cranky and I don't know what else to do... I'm doing the best I can"

Sgt: "you're doing great honey, and I'm sorry if I'm being an ass but you know this isn't easy for me and you're not giving me any credit for even trying"

Me: "well you're not the only one this is hard for... I'm sorry I'm being pissy though"

Sgt: *wraps me up in a hug that makes me just want to stand there for the rest of eternity*

I think that now that we've talked about it it'll be ok. At least we got it out there, we don't want to bicker.... and pushing each other away is only going to make us feel guilty once he's gone. His unit moved while he's been home so communication will be a lot more limited in his new AO.... which freakin' sucks now that he's been home for 18 days.

In good news (and in sort of a request) - Sgt. has put in a packet for the Army's green to gold program and if he gets it... well, it would be the biggest blessing in both of our lives. He's worked so hard and is an outstanding soldier... please pray for him and for this opportunity for him. PLEASE... even if it's just one prayer... right now.... I'll wait. *pause* Thank you! We should find out within the next couple of months if he was accepted which would mean a "not so much longer till we see each other again" deal.

This weekend is going to suck. I miss him already. His family did however honor our request to be alone for the airport drop off, so at least we'll have that. I love R&R but man... it is such a tease.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Missing in Action

Helloooo out there! I know no one would fault me for not posting in so long but I've been feeling a little guilty being away from the blog. Time is just not a resource we have laying around too often these days, between Sgt. being home and work and vacation, I've been downing Red Bull's like they're going out of style.

My time with him has been nothing short of absolutely amazing. There will be plenty of time to update and share stories once he's gone (in a short 6 days... where does the time go?) but this leave has FAR exceeded my hopes and I'm so happy. I've been walking around with this permanent grin on my face.

Hope everyone out in the blog world is doing good! Lots of good stories to come soon :).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

You're here!!

That's what I kept saying to him last night as we sat next to each other in the car. I can't stop stepping back and just looking at him.. he's really here! In the flesh, with no bullet holes, it's amazing!

He got here yesterday around 4:30 in the afternoon... the car pulled up and someone said "are we expecting someone?" I knew immediately it was him, I ran outside just in time to see him step out of the car (in uniform might I add) and I wrapped my arms around him. It's amazing how time stands still for a minute.

It's like he never left. I expected there to be this awkwardness at first or this getting to know you again time, but there's not. It's just us, as if he was down last weekend and here he is again. Although, we do say "I missed you so much" a lot more frequently than I think we would have if he'd just been here. It's like we just picked right up where we left off, it's an incredible feeling.

This morning I was in the bathroom putting on my make up, hair all wet from getting out of the shower, getting ready for work, and he came in and snapped a picture.

"Why are you taking a picture of this goober?"
"because, in two months when I'm missing you, I want to remember this. I want to remember us just how we are together, not all posed with a cheesy grin, just you. That's the stuff I want to remember"

*cue the big grin and the collective 'awww'*

He's HERE!!! He's home. He's home. For the next 18 days, he's home. I intend to soak up every single moment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lost luggage

Well, got a pretty interesting phone call yesterday -

"So I've been circling the airport for about an hour now and I can't find him. He just said X time today and didn't give me an airline or anything... if he doesn't show up within the hour I'm probably just going to go home"

"umm ok, well I don't know anything about it, so good luck!"

I spent the rest of the evening wondering if someone actually LOST my boyfriend at the airport. Sgt.'s master plan was to surprise me with his arrival. He sent me an e-mail telling me he was safely out of Iraq but wouldn't tell me exactly where in the world he was cause he wanted his arrival to be a surprise... which to be really honest, I was looking forward to.

All evening I kept waiting for him to call and say he was here or for him to show up but he never did. Totally disappointed. Not so much that he wasn't here yet... but more so because I thought he WAS here and just hadn't contacted me yet. Then this morning I get a text message saying

"Not yet. Sorry if I got you excited"

To be really honest, I'm kind of glad he's not here yet. I want him to be here, but the thought of him getting in and then just being able to wait till the next day to see me kind of stung. Also, this way, his arrival can still be a surprise!

He's out of Iraq, he's SOMEWHERE in this world, hopefully safe, and hopefully on his way home. Soon. Soon. That's the mantra I keep repeating to myself. I keep wondering if he'll stop in Dallas and I'll see him up on USO girls tattoo Tuesday... now wouldn't THAT be an interesting coincidence :).