hurry up… and wait…

You would think I’d be used to that phrase by now. I worked for the Kentucky Educational Television network (KET) for two years and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) for the spring/summer and part of fall. State government work is full of “hurry up and wait”, and it’s no different with federal government. More specifically the military.

It’s been a little over three weeks since I married my husband and I’ll be moving into a house with him on post the day before we hit four. I am thankful, though, that I don’t have to spend the first six-nine months not living with him though. One of the guys in his unit got married January 2nd and deployed last Sunday. I can only imagine how his newlywed wife feels and my heart goes out to her. I dreaded being in her place. So I won’t complain that I have to wait a few more days to be with Daniel, no matter how much I don’t like it.

I’m just excited that I’m finally really getting to start this new chapter in my life. I got asked a lot at work how married life was and my initial guy response was always “it sucks”, but it didn’t suck because my husband didn’t love me or because I never got time to myself. It sucked (and still does for the next four days) because my husband is eight hours away. But in four days and an eight hour drive, he won’t be.

I feel like I should be more nervous about this. Like I should be even a little bit concerned about living with him. I’ve never lived with a guy who was more than just a boyfriend. I always had the option of leaving if it got to be too much. I still have that option I suppose, but it’s more difficult this time. It’s almost not worth taking, though I know if things end up getting beyond repair it’s worth taking it. That thought is mildly frightening, but what comforts me is the belief that it won’t ever get that bad. It’s not a delusional belief either. I really don’t think things will get to the point where we don’t want to be around each other. We’re both adults after all. I turn 27 in April and he turns 29 in May, and we both agree that if we don’t like something in our relationship, we’ll talk about it.

My biggest fear going into all of this was my want to enlist. He’s known about it since before we started dating, but I felt like every time I mentioned it he pulled away from the subject or ignored that I was even talking about it. It was a conversation I wanted to wait to have with him in person, but it was also a conversation I didn’t want to put off anymore than I already had. Should I have talked to him about it before we got married? Yeah, but hindsight is twenty/twenty. So I brought it up last night.

The first and second time I looked into it, I was in a relationship (two different people) but it was just a boyfriend/girlfriend thing. I told them both what I wanted to do and they both said “go for it”, but it never got more conversation than that. I knew they both supported my decision and would never try to talk me out of it. Besides, at the time it was just a thought.

The first attempt at enlistment ended before the relationship I was in at the time did, but the second time I looked into it, the relationship ended when the enlistment process got serious. My first go-around ended because of a medical disqualification (I had heart surgery at 17), but when I discovered the grounds of that disqualification were a mute point, I wanted to try again. At the time I started, my then boyfriend was behind me. He is a Marine himself, so he understood. But as things got going and I was days away from a trip to MEPS with a solid letter from my heart surgeon, he realized he couldn’t support me as a boyfriend. A friend, yes, but nothing more. And so we parted ways.

My relationship ended because of my goals and I didn’t realize it til last night, but I was terrified it was going to happen again. Here I’d found this amazing man who was perfect in ways I hadn’t even imagined possible, and I was terrified that my dream of enlisting was going to push him away. Forget that he’d made a vow of “for better or for worse”, I was still scared shitless and nervous as hell. I had no idea how to bring it up, so I just jumped right into it (in my normal “I’m nervous so I’m going to ramble” fashion) and looked at him over Skype as I waited for him to say something in response. I got nothing for a bit before he was like “And…?” so I just came straight out and asked.

“Are you sure you’re okay with me wanting to enlist?”

I’d said it. It was out there. Now was the time I was going to find out if he knew what this meant to me or if he just figured if he ignored it, I’d give up and never do it. I’m a habitual over-thinker, so of course I had almost convinced myself that the latter was the case.

Thankfully, I was wrong. He laughed at me lightly (in one of those “damn you’re cute” ways) and made sure to assure me that he was more than okay with it. He supported me and when I explained why I had been so nervous to ask he assured me that he wasn’t going to be that much of an ass. He also explained that he understood how important this goal was to me and that he’d never ask me to give it up. He wanted me to be happy and if that meant I had to enlist, then so be it.

If I really think about it, this whole “new chapter” I keep referring to has actually already started. It started before we got married, it started before we got engaged. It honestly started the evening we first met at a Starbucks and sat outside well past close talking about anything and everything we could come up with. It’s not even a new chapter, it’s a whole new book comprised of chapters.

“This Is What You Call Love: Adventures in a Dual Military Marriage”
Coming to a bookstore near you… in like twenty years.

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