I've avoiding talking about the trip I left for a week ago in hopes that if I don't talk about it, when I wake up tomorrow I will still be on an Army base. That's not how it works? Well shoot. In that case, I'll tell you all about it while I sit here and pout a bit more.
Last Tuesday I anxiously packed up the car, baked a pan of coffee cake (one of M's favorite desserts), then headed off to class. I dipped out early when I found out we weren't really doing anything in class. I grabbed Gage, hopped in the car and hit the road for a 7 hour drive by myself!
Though I decided the GPS hates me after getting me lost multiple times, I finally made it to the hotel. I hiked up and down the two flights of stairs to our room to get everything inside. I unpacked and tried to head to bed but I knew I wouldn't sleep. And I didn't.
I "woke up" Wednesday morning with all sorts of butterflies in my tummy. Just a few hours stood between me and seeing my best friend for the first time in over two and a half months. That's the longest time we've ever been apart! I took off over a half hour early because I knew I would struggle with finding the building he was in. Fifty minutes later I finally found the right building after the GPS took me to many places that were in fact not the building he was in. I was upset, felt terrible for being late, and was pretty close to tears when I saw him for the first time. Just like that, none of it mattered!
The distance, the days apart, all the tears, disappeared when I finally found him in the sea of men who looked exactly alike. Though PDA had to be kept to a real minimum, the reunion will always be in my mind! We took off for the hotel and drove around for half an hour trying to find it before I stopped to ask for another map. I'm telling you, this place is HUGE and the buildings are only marked if you are on the right side of the building. We spent the rest of the day just soaking up each other's presence. It was glorious! Dropping him off made me sad but I knew I would see him early in the morning!
The next morning I woke up to many texts from my family, realizing I'd overslept by more than an hour and had to be at the graduation site in a half hour. Thankfully I already had everything set out, I knew where I was going, and my hair cooperated for once! My family and M's family drove down as well so I met up with them and we waited for the whole thing to start. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't in tears as these men and women became soldiers of the U.S. Army!
After the ceremony was over I ran through the massive crowd and found M. He was so happy to see me! I met one of M's best buddies from basic and his buddy's girlfriend. It was so cool to meet all the guys he'd been telling me about, the ones who were there for him when I couldn't be! We took a ton of pictures before heading out to eat. We sat all 9 of us around a big table, enjoyed way too much food, and listened to lots of stories. My family had to turn around and make the 8 1/2 hour drive back so they headed out with Gage right after lunch. M's family brought us back to the hotel and then headed out as well. We spent the afternoon hanging out, watching movies, and enjoying junk food. Other than taking pictures and a few texts here and there, we put our phones away the whole time we were together. Best decision we could have made! It let us enjoy the moment instead of responding to all the people who were excited for us. Dropping him off was awful. We had no idea whether or not he would get a weekend pass since he was staying in the same place for AIT. I didn't know when I would see or talk to him again. He told me to stay for formation so I waited around with some of the other families as they lined up. Up until this point, he'd had his phone sporadically over the two day period. Then I watched him frantically text me one last time before his phone was taken away again and they headed inside. Somehow through the tears I made it back to the hotel and tried to pull myself back together. A little while later I got a phone call from M saying everything was fine and he got to keep his phone!
The next morning he "shipped out" to AIT which was just a little ways down the road. A few hours later he let me know he was getting a pass for at least the day and to be there in half an hour. Holy #^$%. So I jumped up, threw on some clothes other than PJs, and ran to the car. Thankfully I found the place with just a few minutes to spare. After sitting in a little room and listening to a brief from the new barracks, I signed him out for the day. We talked about how his graduation date was actually about 3 weeks later than what we were hoping for and that he only got a two day pass instead of three. After minimal pouting, we spent the day goofing off and reconnecting. I only teared up when I dropped him off and went back to my room.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I didn't want to get out of bed. I knew it was my last day with M and I just didn't want to get up because I knew that meant the last day had started. I signed him out and brought him back so we could figure out our plan for the day. We ended up designing our Christmas cards, calling some friends to talk for a bit, a little bit of shopping for Army apparel, driving around talking the way we used to and then many tears on my part. I was a wreck and I will own up to that. The days didn't pass too quickly but they just weren't enough time. I wasn't ready but I couldn't do anything about it. The past few days most of the soldiers were back in the barracks about a half hour before the deadline. This night, we all clung to our soldiers until literally the last minute. We finally forced ourselves out of the car and the no PDA rule had to be broken. I was not about to leave my husband without saying see you later one last time for awhile. All of the cars sat in the parking lot for a few minutes after all the soldiers had disappeared inside. I let myself have a little bit to be upset in the parking lot and then I pulled myself together. It could be worse, at least I know he will be coming home to me soon.The next morning I packed up the car and made the 8 1/2 hour drive back home by myself. No Gage for entertainment, it was pretty awful but I made it!
I'm so thankful for all the prayers and well wishes y'all have sent our way throughout the past few months! We reconnected and our marriage is Army strong that's for sure! I'm grateful that the trip down and back went off without too many problems. I'm thankful that our families could help us celebrate as well. I'm thankful that M gets to keep his phone now that he's in AIT. Most of all, I'm just so thankful for the opportunity to spend a few days enjoying the company of my husband and best friend. And a special shout out to the milsos (military significant others) who kept me sane and supported me throughout this journey. No one understands it better than someone who's already been through or is currently going through this!
Here's to hoping AIT passes as quickly as BCT did!
|Pretty sunset with a little dog slobber on top|
|My handsome soldier <3|
|The first thing he wanted was caffeine. Starbucks was definitely our friend!|
|The men and their ladies!|
|So in love with him!|
|His and hers.|
|Skyping now that we're apart again..|