4 Years Enlisted

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This week marks Christopher's 4th anniversary of enlisting into and joining the Air Force. On April 26th, 2006, he signed his life away, shaved all of his thick curly hair off, and hopped on a plane to San Antonio to start his training.

At the time, I was completely lost without him. I didn't know how to live, without him being a text message away. I cried myself to sleep every night he was away in basic. I wrote him letter after letter after letter, 3 letters a day, to try to help pass my empty minutes. It was a desperate sort of love, but hopefully in that, Christopher saw how important he was to me.

In June, while 6 1/2 months pregnant, I packed up all of my things, said goodbye to my best friend, my family, my home- and started the biggest adventure of my life.

I stopped in Boise, 9 hours away from my parents house in Woodland Washington, and collected Christopher's mom, who had volunteered to be my copilot. Christopher didn't know she was coming. He barely knew I was coming, since I had planned the trip at the very last minute. Together, her and I drove across the country in my recently purchased Chevy Tracker, in the heat of an unfamiliar summer, passing real life cowboys at rest stops and avoiding near horror flick scenarios at the scariest of fly infested ghost town diners- and within a week, we made our way all the way down to Lackland Air Force Base, to celebrate Christopher's basic training graduation.

I was so excited to finally hit the X on our map. All of the heartburn, all of the frustration, all of the driving with my mother in law (you know I love you Nonie)- was all finally adding up to something. I'll never forget when my phone rang, just a few minutes after we had crossed the Texas border. I hadn't talked to him in weeks, I was aching to hear his voice, and here I was, telling him how close I was to seeing him.

After a long exhausting journey, a drawn out ceremony of everybody looking exactly the same, all dressed in blue, and hundreds of people marching around in big square formations- I ran from the bleachers to find and greet my airman.

And even though he wouldn't put his arms around me, or show me any kind of affection at all- I was happy to be there with him.

See, Christopher was a little, hmmm, how can I say this in the nicest possible way... big headed, when he first graduated. We've talked about it several times since then, and we can actually laugh about it now, but what it boils down to, is that he had never really achieved such a great accomplishment, and let his pride sort of eat him alive? Yeah, well he deserved it, so, I forgive him.

He wouldn't kiss me, or hug me, or even really talk to me, when we were in public. The entire time he was gone, I had been doing nothing but writing him letters, growing his baby, missing him, and planning on and then making the trip to be with him. So for him to kind of reject me... I went a little crazy, can you imagine?

But to be fair, I can see things from his point of view too. He was on a high horse. And rightfully so. To a certain extent. He had worked hard, and I was being much too needy. There was for sure an adjustment period for the two of us, but we got through it. And if we can get through that, we can get through anything.

Who wants to see more pictures??

Christopher is clearly distracted, and I look like a puppy

Christopher and his Mama

Hand on my baby belly

Christopher and his Mom walking around the air park at Lackland

Catching up on some history

And a quick picture in front of a plane

Classy, right?

Theres an entire stack more of pictures of us standing in front of random planes, a few more pictures of Christopher standing at attention, more bad angles and captures of my double chin (seriously, I gained so much weight when I was pregnant with Eleanore), but these were the pick of the litter.

We've come a long way in the last 4 years. And I hear we're in it for life.

Come and flashback with us! Its easy as your favorite kind of pie (omg, pie, please). Upload an older picture, write a couple of lines to go with it, take a walk down memory lane, and bring us with you! Make sure to put the link to this post on your post (you can either grab our flashback button from the bottom of the page, wayyy down there, or you can just type out an old fashioned text link), and then come and add your link to the list below.


Freestyle Mom April 29, 2010 at 10:11 PM  

Oh my God Tia, I don't know how the hell you got through that... ESP. being pregnant!!!!! If Randy treated me like that, I would have lost my damn mind. I'm so glad you guys got through it and are still going strong.

Anonymous,  April 29, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

Milestone! .... Oooh, and I love the nose art on that plane, hee hee :p

Bobbi Janay @When did I go from a kid to a grown up? April 29, 2010 at 10:50 PM  

I love this post, I understand both of your feelings. I am glad you came through it all stronger.

The Momma April 29, 2010 at 10:54 PM  

I think they're all great pics! I love your baby belly!!!

Nyla April 29, 2010 at 11:01 PM  

Strong woman. Strong love.

Lacey April 29, 2010 at 11:21 PM  

Great post! You are such a sweet wife to be so understanding of the transition he was going through. I love hearing stories of couples prevailing during difficult times. That's when the true love shows itself. You tell the story so well - so sweetly.

Casey April 29, 2010 at 11:46 PM  

My first husband was USAF, I remember flying out from California for his graduation at Lackland.....I was 17 and had never been farther than about 6 hours from home. It was so exciting and scary all at the same time. I didn't have a camera or I'd do a flashback of it!

Sarah April 29, 2010 at 11:48 PM  

Wow! You are strong! I can't even imagine not getting any hugs or kisses especially pregnant, but I also know as women we definitely feel a lot more than men do. What a tough cookie you are! Glad it was just a bump, and you guys are still in it for the long run. Loved seeing all the photos! :)

jessicajane April 29, 2010 at 11:57 PM  

wow, he looks So YOUNG in those pictures!!!

Tim was the same way when I first saw him! Except for different reasons. He was in training for 4 months, and they molded him into this emotionless man who was used to be ordered around for so long, that he didnt know how to act when he was finally out of bootcamp.

Congrats to Christopher on 4 years!

Chana April 30, 2010 at 12:09 AM  

This is too cute:)
Congrats to you both for creating such an amazing life just 4 short years later!

Laura Craig April 30, 2010 at 12:22 AM  

Goodness, I could have written that post!!! Well, except I was lugging around a 5 month old and my Mother in Law and I flew!!! LOL!!! I wrote Adam several times a day and I cried my eye's out every night!! I even went as far as putting his cologn on his pillow so I could at least TRY and fall asleep!!! LOL!!!

I don't know what I expected when getting to Lackland. There was what I knew was going to happen, and then what I hoped was going to happen. I was hoping to see my husband and instantly start running to be in each other's arms.. and then reality hit and he couldn't even hug me. He wasn't allowed. But I do remember fishing around in the big blue sea trying to hunt for him!!!!!

Congrats on the 4 year mark!! We just hit 6 years in the AF and we are lifers too :) Maybe someday we will be stationed at the same base :)

Colleen April 30, 2010 at 6:19 AM  

I'm glad you got through that and are where you are today. Congrats on four years. Ummm... I'm not old, I know I'm not, but I'm kind of feeling old right now, 'cause my hubby will be hitting the 18yr mark in May. Argh! I'm not old... i'm not old... i'm not old...

Nen April 30, 2010 at 6:33 AM  

I would have done the exact same thing with writing letters! You both should be proud of getting through that time! It was quite a journey for both of you!

Whimsical Creations April 30, 2010 at 6:52 AM  

What a milestone in your lives. That had to have been hard while being pregnant.

CourtneyKeb April 30, 2010 at 7:32 AM  

Seriously, I really DON'T know how you did that.
My husband goes away for 2 weeks at a time, and after just 2 weeks I feel like I can't take my eyes off of him, or stop touching him.
You really are awesome!

and hopefully it doesn't offend you if I tell you your husband is incredibly handsome, and I just think ya'll are adorable!

alita April 30, 2010 at 7:48 AM  

Holy hormones! I don't know how you didn't go off. I would have been just as needy. Oh wait, I was needy with my first pregnancy.

Thankfully it all worked out. You have a beautiful family already and another one on the way. How exciting!

Fallon April 30, 2010 at 8:13 AM  

Wow, that's kinda sad! I'm glad his head shrunk back down :) Love the last photo.

Oh Mandie! April 30, 2010 at 8:39 AM  

I'll tell you what, it takes a special kind of woman to be a military wife, and you take the cake.

I don't think I could have been away from Mike that long without having a serious breakdown.

And how come you always seem to have the cutest baby bellies?? I looked like Humpty Dumpty every time I was pregnant!

They call me mommy... April 30, 2010 at 8:39 AM  

I would have been just as needy and I give you major props for even being able to handle being married to a solider, I can only imagine how hard it is to watch him leave. You guys have a beautiful family, congrats to your hubby on 4 years!
oh yeah and I LOVE the pics!

AlyGatr April 30, 2010 at 8:40 AM  

Wow, those pics bring back memories for me too! We used to live in San Antonio, when my hubby was stationed at Kelly AFB (now annexed into Lackland). We used to drive past the training grounds all the time. I was never separated from Dom for as long as you two were, since he was two years into his first enlistment when I met him, but I bet that was hard, especially while you were preggie. I had to live 3 months all alone in North Dakota while he retrained at Keesler in MS and I had no kids at the time and THAT was hard. It's always so much better to be on the other side of those long separations!

Brooke April 30, 2010 at 9:18 AM  

cheers for making it through the ups and downs of married life! :)

Christina April 30, 2010 at 10:11 AM  

That would be so hard, especially while pregnant. It's always interesting to look back in time and see how much things have changed. That was indeed a big milestone in your lives!

beka April 30, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

Awww, loved this post. Holy cow.
That is one classy picture--him and that plane. ;)
He looks almost like our friend who graduated basic in December...but Christopher looks better:P They all look the same in the blues!
Anyhow. You guys are so cute. Even if he was cold and proud.. heh heh. That's a lot to go through, for the both of you!

The Paper Mama April 30, 2010 at 1:30 PM  

Oh yes. Mike and I had a little moment of that. We had been together 3 years and he was in his first year of law school. We made it through it. It sucked, but I believe it made us stronger. :D

Love the photos!

Marie April 30, 2010 at 2:12 PM  

When I flew out for Anthony's BMT graduation he was terrified of getting in trouble and not graduating because of a little PDA... Didn't stop us from breaking the rules, we totally hit up the hotel room, but we've never been much for public displays anyway :)

soul_searching_mama April 30, 2010 at 8:32 PM  

Can I just say that I have a lot of respect for you? You are amazing and such a strong woman. I don't think I could have handled what you went through the first few months of your marriage - especially pregnant!

Nyla April 30, 2010 at 9:40 PM  

Hey I just read the comment you left on my post. That is a horrible nightmare! I hope things turn out well for you and your family.

I know all those little things that I'm worrying about now won't matter in the pretty near future (5 years or so). I'm just thinking out loud. Blog therapy?

I know in the end, I would definitely regret not having another baby.

Thanks for the advice. I'll have to make the decision within the next few months and I'll be posting it here, for sure.

Megan May 1, 2010 at 7:37 PM  

Oh my gosh, this took me back to two years ago (tomorrow is two years exactly!) when Kyle graduated. It's a weird and fantastic feeling, isn't it?

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