Kyle hadn’t even left for boot camp before the US NAVY started messing with the plans they originally set for us.  Kyle’s ship-out date was changed a few times before it was finalized because he decided to pursue a spec ops career after he had already enlisted as an Aviation Ordinanceman (AO). He was originally set to ship out mid-April for the AO boot camp, and then in mid-July after he was re-contracted as an Aviation Rescue Swimmer.  In March, his recruiter called and asked him to come to the recruiting station to “fill out paperwork.” Kyle came home and proudly announced that his ship-out date had been moved up. Honestly I was excited for him to get to Boot Camp as soon as possible and when he said he would get to leave sooner than planned, I was relieved…the sooner he could leave, the sooner he’d be back. At that point, July was months away and we were both hopeful that he would be able to ship out around May.

“So, when do you ship out?”

He was avoiding eye contact and didn’t respond right away. Uh-oh. I began to silently panic, thinking maybe he would be leaving for Boot Camp in mere days. I wasn’t prepared for him to leave in days. I waited with the patience of a Saint for all about seven seconds then demanded, “Babe, freaking tell me!”

My sweet husband brought his green eyes back up to look into mine and said, “July 3. I’m so sorry.”

My first reaction was excitement since that meant he would get to ship out three weeks earlier than scheduled. Then it sank in. July 3. The day before my birthday, and a week before our wedding anniversary. His original mid-July ship out date allowed for us to celebrate those special days. He would have been in boot camp on his own birthday, so we had already made plans to celebrate that before he would ship out. This new ship out date meant that he would be absent the entire month of July including my birthday and our anniversary. Looking back on that moment, I believe that’s when I experienced my first sobering revelation of what military life would be like; plans would change constantly and I would need to figure out how to roll with the punches.

Now it’s July 11. I find myself here alone on my second wedding anniversary. I wish my husband was here and able to take me on a fancy date, or even if I could just see his handsome face. Even though I know he is busy and getting yelled at and is focusing on studies at Basic Training, I know in my heart that he is thinking of me and misses me with every passing second.

This week I am staying with my in-laws. I am one of the few freaks in this world that genuinely enjoys my husband’s parents. I actually love spending time with them and have an incredible relationship with my mother-in-law. We text each other everyday and talk on the phone several times during the week. The fact that I am happily volunteering to stay the week at my in-laws’ home without my husband should speak volumes in itself.

Tonight, they took me out for a fancy dinner since they knew if Kyle were here he would have done the same. We enjoyed a hearty meal at Outback Steakhouse and were wrapped up in delightful conversations for hours. We excitedly spoke about the future I would share with their son, and how proud we were of him. Honestly, spending my anniversary with my in-laws was the next best thing to spending it with my husband. Who else knows a man better than his wife and parents? It seems fitting that the ones who made him would be the best people to spend this evening with while he was away.

So as I write this, I find myself reminiscing about our wedding day and missing him more than I can almost bear. I know I will soon need to muster up the strength needed to fall asleep without him next to me, so I will turn to God.  I know that I will be praying the same prayers I pray over him every night - for him to have strength when he feels weak, for him to have energy when he feels tired, for him to feel comforted by God when he feels lonely, and for him to know that he lacks no good thing according to scripture. But tonight, I will put in one additional request for him – please, God, give him the strength he needs to fall asleep without me tonight, too.