He served his country for 12 years in the Air Force.
I married him in year 4.
He was actually separating from the Air Force when we started dating. He had no one to support him while serving. The person that had said "I Do" before me had decided that while he was serving a tour in Saudi Arabia she would find herself a new guy.
My Veteran was heartbroken. I healed his heart. Fixed it all up and kept it like new.....for 16 years now!
His Sergeant pulled some strings and he received orders to Delaware. We were married 3 months later and found ourselves stationed in Delaware among wonderful people.
We celebrated our 2 MONTH anniversary and by or 3 MONTH anniversary he was on his way to Uphold Democracy in Haiti for 3 months. We were apart for our first Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We had a most wonderful Christmas celebration on January 20th when he returned. Presents filled our whole family room. I had shopped all through December to ease the pain and then all through the after-Christmas sales! I didn't mind shopping for and wrapping my own presents. He had already given me a beautiful gift that year we married. He had healed my heart also.
I passed his test. He needed to know. Would I be there for him at the end of a tour? I didn't know it was a test. I didn't know he had volunteered for that tour to Haiti because "he had to know". I understood.....completely though. And, I passed.
He missed most of my entire pregnancy with Kaia. He left for Kuwait when I was 4 months pregnant and still not showing and returned when I was 8 months pregnant and looked like I had a basketball stuffed up my dress. He brought home a necklace that he placed around my neck that had the inscription "Kaia" on it. We did not know what we were having and he hadn't liked the name Kaia at first. But while in Kuwait he knew it was a girl and he knew he wanted her name to be Kaia. I was beyond thrilled. And, we had a girl!
We wrote a lot of love letters while he was on tour and serving in the Air Force. I have them tucked away. They are precious to me.
He also wrote love letters to Kaia while he was away from us most of her first year. He was sent to Korea for a whole year. Unaccompanied. Meaning 'no family allowed'. He left when Kaia was 4 months old and came home to a 16 month old that didn't like him. For the first four months of her life....they were inseparable. Now he was trying to win her heart again. He passed.
My Veteran is an amazing daddy.
In January of 2001 we felt confident that it was time to leave the military. He was due out in October of 2001. We prayed about it and knew it was time for a different life. One that would allow us more time together than apart.
On September 11, 2001 we watched America being attacked. I received a phone call early in the morning from My Veteran telling me to stay home and to not go out of town today. I watched and cried. He waited for his next assignment. Torn. He was ready to serve his country once again, but scheduled to get out in 3 weeks.
We followed our heart and our answer to our earlier prayers and Dave started terminal leave (meaning early leave with saved vacation time) on the last day of September. Our plan all along. Stop loss went into effect on October 1. Anyone who had not started terminal leave before then was halted from getting out of the military. We were still torn, but felt peace and relief at the same time.
That was 8 years ago. If he had stayed in, he would be retiring this year. And honestly probably in Korea again for one last unaccompanied tour. Blake would have not survived a year without his daddy. I would not have survived another year without my husband. I'm happy with our choice. But do miss the Air Force from time-to-time.
He still loves his country. LOVES his country.
And I am glad he is MY Veteran!
And my heart goes out to all our Veterans today and their families. And my prayers too.