This morning I woke up at 4 Chicago time (2 am California time) to start getting ready for my husband’s NAVY graduation.  Although I was excited to watch Kyle go from civilian to sailor, I was more nervous to just watch Kyle.  I hadn’t seen him in months and I was so nervous.  I needed EVERYTHING to be perfect since it had been so long since we’d seen each other.  Since I don’t hardly ever invest too much time into getting ready, I allowed myself 2 whole hours to shave my legs, curl my hair, put on makeup and iron out my dress.  The entire time I was getting ready I felt like I was going to puke.  At the Hotel’s continental breakfast I couldn’t take a bite of anything or even drink coffee – mostly because I felt sick to my stomach, but partly since I was so nervous I feared that I would get food all over my dress.

The NAVY advised that the doors to the graduation hall opened at 6:30 and if you wanted a good seat then you should plan to be there at that time, even though the actual ceremony didn’t start till 9.  After waiting in a LONG line of cars to actually get on the base, and then through another LONG line to get inside the ceremony hall, it took us until 8:10 to get seated!  Kyle’s parents and I ended up sitting next to a family that went through a hurricane to get here from Louisiana!  I immediately bonded with Emily (nice name!) who was there to support her boyfriend.  She came with his parents and we had a lot in common.  We wondered if Kyle and Tucker (her boyfriend) were friends, and we anxiously chatted about how we were feeling.  We both kept looking at our phones to check the time (who wears watches these days anyways?!) and I honestly worried that I would throw up as the minutes till the start of the ceremony dwindled.

Finally, a voice came over the loudspeaker to request that everyone take their seats and silence their phones.  I then heard a fantastic drum-line and my heart started racing. I mean pounding, beating so hard I bet the other Emily could hear it, and my palms immediately started sweating.  The band marched inside the ceremony hall alongside additional sailors who were carrying the flags from each of the fifty states. The sailors with the flags were marching totally in in step with the band, and the sailors in the band were so intensely playing their instruments that it was almost spiritual to witness.

The band’s music halted and everyone cheered.  Then the voice came over the loudspeaker again and announced that it was now time to welcome all the divisions into the hall.  All of a sudden there was a lump in my throat.  I was seconds, seconds away from seeing Kyle for the first time in months.  As every division’s unit numbers were called out, you could hear different groups in the hall cheering for that division.  As soon as the announcer said “Division 8-1-8” everyone in my group jumped up and screamed!  The sailors marched over toward where we were sitting and I saw Kyle!  He didn’t see me since he had to keep focused on marching in step, but I saw him for a few brief seconds till I lost sight of him.  He looked tired and his face was red and sweaty, but I was overwhelmed with butterflies…

The ceremony was full of patriotism and proud families.  The sailors stood at attention for the entire time and they all looked in pain and extremely warm.  I couldn’t imagine being in this room wearing all of that gear with spotlights on me all while making sure that I’m doing what I’m supposed to.  My eyesight is terrible, so I couldn’t make out Kyle’s face amongst all the other sailors, so my mother in law let me put on her glasses since she is also near-sighted.  As soon as I put those babies on, I immediately saw Kyle’s eyes staring back at me and he cracked a smile at me.  I felt seen for the first time in months.  I whipped those glasses off immediately and gave them right back to Vicki since I couldn’t handle all that intensity.  I hadn’t felt vulnerable and loved that way in so long and I felt completely naked.

The ceremony ended with the announcer proclaiming, “Sailors, liberty call!” and all the sailors broke out of their lines to shake each other’s hands, and all the guests stood up to join them in the middle of the hall.

My heart was thumping.  I felt like I was going to trip down the bleachers.  I was almost positive that my makeup was jacked up from crying during the ceremony and I felt like my hair wasn’t how I wanted it to look from all the nervous sweats.  But I made it to the ceremony floor and searched for him.

It was like a scene from a movie.  I walked through the crowd searching for the one I love and couldn’t see him through all the white uniforms.  Then, the crowds parted and I saw him staring at me as he made his way toward me. Before I knew it, his lips were on mine and he held me in his arms and lifted my feet off the ground.  I noticed how smooth his skin was on his neck and how sweet he smelled.  He put me down and he greeted his parents.  He only had a few minutes to be with us before he had to run over to claim his liberty and move his stuff from the recruit barracks to the holding barracks.  He explained to me that he can’t hold my hand in his uniform or show a lot of PDA or he’d get in trouble.  So he cocked his left arm out and said that he’s allowed to escort me if I held his arm.  Such a gentleman.

As we walked out of the hall and we were greeted by the sunshine, he quietly said in my direction, “You were the prettiest girl in the room.  I was able to spot you right away because you are that gorgeous.  Seriously, you were the only one who stood out. I’m so proud of you.” I blushed and couldn’t look at him.  He then put his head closer to me and whispered, “I like your dress, too. It’s so pretty. It will look even better on the floor.”

Ah! Butterflies. Apparently, he was still attracted to me and wanted me.  And he looked damn good in his uniform.

He gave us directions on where to meet up with him since he had to officially get his liberty and he said it could take an hour.  So his parents and I went over to the NEX (Navy Exchange) on base to pick up his official sailor pictures and to look around the store while we waited.  About an hour went by and Kyle hadn’t shown up yet. So my in-laws headed back to the car since they wanted to sit down in air conditioning.  So I stood in the center of this giant brick circle looking once again for my sailor. Time went by slowly and all I could think about was how hungry I was (since I skipped breakfast), how sore my feet were (wearing 4” heels comes at a price), and how much I wanted my husband to be there with me.  I waited there for thirty-five more minutes trying to not look so desperate when I saw my favorite set of eyes smiling at me.  We greeted each other with a quick kiss and I grabbed onto his right arm.  He then cocked out his left arm and said, “Babe, I need you on this side because I salute with my right arm.” Oh, duh.

Kyle’s parents were waiting in the parking garage for us so we walked over there.  It took awhile to get there since I was in heels and my feet were killing me so I had to walk slow. Plus, I didn’t want to trip. Once we were in the garage I told Kyle that we parked on the third floor and there was no way I would walk up two flights of stairs. So we entered the elevator. The tension was so thick you could cut right through it. I was still nervously holding onto his left arm and I couldn’t bring myself to look him in the eyes.  As the elevator doors closed, he tenderly guided me off his side and brought me to face him. He grabbed my face and brought my mouth up to his. It was the most passionate kiss we have ever had.  Not sloppy and messy, but the sweetest, most tender, loving kiss.  The elevator dinged to let us know to knock it off since the doors were about to open, so we broke apart and I got on his side again and exited that steamy metal box.

We met up with Dan and Vicki and they took our pictures in the parking garage.  We planned to take more pictures of us in a prettier location but we wanted one of us then.  This ended up being the only picture we took that day since we were busy and forgot, but this was our graduation picture.  We hopped in the car and drove to the other base to get my military ID, then headed over to Cracker Barrel for late lunch/early dinner.  We all went back to the hotel so Dan and Vicki could change out of their fancy clothes for their drive that they were going to take while Kyle and I had some alone time in the room.

Once they left the room, I felt almost like it was my wedding night all over again.  I was so nervous to be alone with him and worried that it would be awkward to be intimate with him.  He approached me with an intense gaze and gently pulled me in for a romantic, powerful embrace and started to kiss all over my face.  I softly asked, “don’t you think we should take this slow? It’s been months, babe. This may be awkward for us.”

“Do you feel awkward?,” he asked as he began to kiss my ear and neck.

“Umm…not really…no…”

“Me neither…”

That was the last of the talking for quite a while.

After all that, we got dressed and met up with Dan and Vicki in the hotel parking lot and went out for dinner at a local pizza joint.  We then took Kyle back to the base since he didn’t have overnight liberty and had a curfew.  We hugged and had a quick kiss and said our good-nights and we drove off back to the hotel.

Now here I am, trying to unwind from all the emotional events of the day.  I must say that I am incredibly grateful for my husband and I cannot put into words how proud I am to be married to a military man.  I am so thankful that all my worrying was in vain since we have even more chemistry than we have ever had.  I’m happy that I get to soak my feet tonight and that I’ve got a full belly.  I’m excited for tomorrow, that’s for sure.  The morning brings touristy activities and more time with the love of my life.  Thank you, Jesus.