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An Open Letter to My Husband on Our 10 Year Anniversary

May 31, 2008- Randolph Air Force Base- San Antonio, Texas

To my beloved husband on our 10 year anniversary, 

As I write this, you are, of course, away. In 10 years, it only takes one hand to count the number of anniversaries that we have actually spent together. Four deployments and more temporary assignments than I care to even count, but this is life.

This is what I signed up for, right? 

Some days it feels like only yesterday that we met in college, just a couple of 20-year-olds. I didn’t want to know you, let alone date you, but somehow, you got to me.  I had big dreams, and you weren’t a part of my plan. I didn’t need the distraction. Yet somehow those late night conversations in the parking lot of the local coffee shop, long after it closed, turned into long afternoons taking my dog to the park; ultimately it led to those monthly date nights at our “fancy” restaurant. If we’re being honest, it was only fancy because we were broke college students at the time but I’d still kill for one of those strawberry tarts today!

You became my person. 

But I still had big dreams, and you still commissioned into the Air Force. Just weeks after we graduated you packed your bags to start flight school in Pensacola, Florida, and I moved to San Antonio, Texas, to start graduate school. Long distance was hard. I say that we “broke up for a season,” but you’d argue like Ross Geller that we were “on a break.”  At this point, it’s mute, because we were always meant to be. Nothing great comes without a little work, right?

July 2007- The day I pinned on your wings as your fiance, not knowing what was ahead.

We got married on what felt like the hottest day of the year, May 31, 2008 at Randolph Air Force Base. Ironically, today is also one of the hottest days of the year.  It was so hot that the air condition in that 200+ year old chapel struggled to keep up.  We laughed on the way to the reception as I put my dress over the air conditioner vents to cool off. After all the arguments discussions about beverages at our reception, I’d end up drinking water by the pitcher.

Our first year of marriage was everything you’d expect it to be. We packed up and moved to Abilene, Texas. You learned to fly the B1-B Lancer. I finished up clinical rotations. We packed up and moved again to Rapid City, South Dakota. We moved over a thousand miles from the state I’d called home for more than 22 years. I started my career. We both learned what military life was all about. We learned how to live under one roof. We agreed to disagree on how to load the dishwasher. We had so many ups and downs that I’d be lying if I said I understood divorce statistics well that year.  

Marriage takes work and the grace of God. 

You went on your first deployment. 

Just over three years into our marriage, we began to navigate the dark waters of infertility. 

Another deployment and our first child later, you had this idea to go on a 6 month, intense, temporary assignment while I struggled with severe postpartum depression. I wish I could erase those times. I wasn’t the person you married. I wasn’t the mother I was supposed to be. You extended more grace to me in my darkest times than I deserved. 

We moved again. You deployed again, and then again. 

Celebrating our 1st Anniversary. That re-created cheesecake was better than I remembered!

Somehow we managed to have our second child between a year and a half of you being gone in a two year span. 

In hindsight, we can now laugh that 2013 was our “Britney Spears Year.” There was so much bad, and not much good. Our love and marriage has only strengthened with every year, but life kept throwing us enough curve balls to make Adrian Beltre sweat. We spent too much time apart. If we could survive that, we could survive anything. 

We matured.

You haven’t been deployed in three years, and even though you’ve still been away a good quarter of each year, it has felt like a small slice of heaven. We’ve raised our children, spent time with family, and made forever memories.

We move again in less than 2 weeks for a new and exciting adventure. What will the next 10 years bring?

I remember saying on our wedding day that I would love you more today than I did yesterday and my love, it’s been so true. This crazy, beautiful life has been a roller coaster, but we’ve stuck by each other, grown with each other, and supported each other through it all.

I’d choose you again. 

Happy 10th Anniversary! We’ll celebrate … eventually …

Love,

Your Wife

Ten years later, in front of the same chapel we got married in.

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