I fought the tears (why, I'm not sure...they won) as I drove away from the recruiting office after dropping off my new hubby to leave for Army basic training. His 'actual' career wouldn't begin for another day, when he finally inprocessed at Fort Dix in New Jersey, but to me, that was the monumental day--the day, just ten days after becoming a wife, that Pete made me an Army wife. It would be another two and a half months before I saw him again, and a full eleven months before we could share a home as husband and wife.
Since his enlistment, Pete and I have shared 13 addresses, five deployments, countless field exercises and I've forgotten how many different month-long separations for one reason or another. Our children have faced things that most children never have to deal with, but they've also been blessed with opportunities that we never could have afforded them if we weren't a military family.
Life (and the military) has thrown so much at us these past 20 years...it would be easy to forget all the details, but good or bad, my memory is sharply reminiscent of just way too much! I still remember the day he left for basic training like it was yesterday--the fear of the unknown (the only knowledge I had of military life was of my uncle, whose Army career was one of those national secrets that we knew little more of than where he was stationed), the pain of knowing it would be at least two months before I could see him again--I remember vividly going to the mall with Pete's mother after we dropped him off and the song on the piped-in radio was Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting". OH MY how I had to fight to keep from falling apart!
Even though we've had some seriously hard times, the good has far outweighed the bad, and through it all, I'm so proud of this man I share my life with, and the good he's done has made me pleased to stand in the background on the rare occasion that he actually receives a pat on the back. When it comes down to it, Pete is a patriot at heart. Sometimes that scares me senseless, I'll have to admit! I've been befuddled by tears because he feels his duty in Iraq was not fulfilled and he wanted to go back, and I've sat in the van during a horrid thunderstorm as he pulled over into the median of a busy street during rush-hour traffic to restore the dignity of a fallen American flag by re-hanging it on its METAL pole with lightning flashing all around him. He may give me heart attack after heart attack, but I sure love this guy and I wouldn't trade him (or the last 20 years) for anything!
Happy Armyversary, sweetie--and HOOAH!!!