I figured it was a good time for the sequel to my Dating with Distance post, nearly six months later and going on five months of deployment. Last time I wrote a lot about how we've really had to communicate a lot and learned to get really good at it. Kyle and I have always been good at talking to one another; how else can you fall in love when you live in different states? But now we have no communication. No contact. No email, no letters. Living in different states sounds simply wonderful in comparison.
It is not fun, it can be miserable, it some days seems horrible, but so far it is not unbearable. I mean, what can you do but live each day and press on when it gets bad? You can't do much. You can cry as much as you want, it won't change things. I try to stay positive; that doesn't mean I haven't collapsed crying on the floor.
Deployment is hard for more than the obvious reasons: being apart, him being a soldier at war, the unknown and the worry. I've noticed that the longer he is gone, the more it becomes a psychological challenge, rather than a more basic and gut emotional response. I cry and mope less than I did during basic training/AIT, but I feel it more, it hurts more. It's hard because being apart becomes the normal, against everything you want it to be. It is hard working out the guilt of being the one still at home, the one who has TV and a car and friends and days that aren't sweltering hot. It is hard to remember to remind yourself that he would want you to have fun and see friends and not work all the time. I have a habit of doing this: when Kyle left for basic I maintained three jobs and five classes for a few months, until I realized that was a stupid plan. I also wrote him over 300 pages worth of letters during those few months; many days that was the only social communication I had. It's hard when people thank you. It's hard worrying if things will be different once he gets back. It's hard in the morning, afternoon, and especially hard in the evening. It's hard not having a reason to be excited in the morning or a reason to stay up late at night. It's hard feeling like you're forgetting things and not making new memories.
Being married, though, is a comfort. I like having his name. I love being his wife. I like getting his Verizon bills in the mail (even though his phone is off and the bills are $0). I like knowing that he's thinking about me as much as I'm thinking about him. I like thinking about when I will get to see him next. I like writing him little love notes every day.
What good can come from being apart? We are both doing good things individually, but I think to keep a relationship strong when there is no being together, you have to still feel that somehow your relationship is going to benefit. This is by far our biggest challenge to date, but I do believe that we will be nearly invincible by the end of it. I know that we are a very strong couple already, something I am very thankful for and so proud of. We didn't rush into getting married, even though our engagement was short and planning a bit chaotic. We have been learning about each other for eight years. I don't remember the first time I told him I love him because we've been saying it for eight years, the meaning has just gradually shifted. I have a keychain that he found and gave to me in high school (during my "omgaustralia" phase). I only noticed last fall that I've had that keychain keeping my keys together ever since, in State College, Finland, in DC, in Pittsburgh, and of course now. It wasn't intentional, it just happened that it was the one thing I always had with me wherever I went. It made me smile, realizing that, because likewise, Kyle and I have stayed together since we met in tenth grade. We dated other people, we went to different schools, different countries. We were not headed in the same direction, but somehow being apart brought us even closer, and we've worked hard since we realized what we wanted and what was inevitable; a good relationship doesn't just happen by chance and fate alone. I know that this has already made us stronger, and love and appreciate each other more. Being married means being in it together, whether you wake up next to each other or thousands of miles apart, whether you have each others hands to hold or a keychain to hang on to.
- From the desk of Mrs. M