This I Believe

Kaitlin - Des Moines, Iowa
Entered on January 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love, patriotism

Love is patient. Love is trustworthy. Love is sacrifice. Love is compromise. Love is true. Love makes you do crazy things. Never in my wildest dreams would I believe that I would become an Army wife. It’s a hard role to play. Many attempt it, few survive it and I would be one of those few. I am marrying an honorable and devoted man; my hero. Honorable and devoted to both me and this country and he always manages to save the day.

I grew up thinking that I would never date, let alone marry someone in the military. Never for any specific reason, but generally because of the stereotypes the military comes with; the abuse, the cheating, the substance abuse. I wanted the perfect life, complete with the perfect house, the nine to five job, the four beautiful kids, and the husband of my dreams. I wanted to raise the perfect family and him and I to be the perfect parents. I wanted the American dream.

I met my fiance in April of 2006, who at the time, was not in the military. I fell fast and am continuing to fall. He joined the Army shortly after which was always in his life plan. I freaked out. Thinking about the danger and him being away was unbearable. I would never give him an ultimatum and I wanted him to be happy so I had a choice; leave the man I love over selfish reasons or stand by his side. Whether I was with him or not I would still love him and worry about him. It was an easy choice. I am a strong person and I loved him more than anything. I was on the fast track of becoming an Army wife and it made me proud. We lived separate lives. I was in school across country and he was in basic training across country, but that never hindered our love.

He left for basic training and soon I was going to not only not see him, but also not be able to talk to him. We kept our love through mail for four months. I wrote him every day and the anticipation of opening the mailbox and seeing a letter from him was amazing. His graduation day fell over Spring break, and I soon found myself on a plane to Kentucky. Seeing him in his class A’s made me so proud and it made me proud to call him mine. He got stationed in Texas and I was on my way back to school where we continued to live apart. A month and a half later he was on his way to Iraq. I was about to experience one of the most difficult things of my life: deployment. I got to talk to him almost everyday which made everything easier. It made everything easy knowing that he was okay.

A lot of people would ask me how I did it. I would respond, “love.” Love has gotten me through everything. I have never had to try to be faithful, I have never had to make myself love him, I never forgot about him. He is everything to me all the time and there was never a second that I did not think about him and it just makes me want him even more. He became my life, my strength, my happiness, my weakness, my everything. He opened my eyes to ideas I did not want to see, changed my one tracked mind, made me have faith, and opened my mind to spontaneity.

When he came home from Iraq, it was the happiest day of my life. I got “my everything” back. I walked onto the homecoming field and I got chills as I waited for him to arrive. The buses pulled up and unloaded the soldiers. They drove away and I saw them in formation and a sense of pride filled my body once again. All the frustration of the Army, not knowing specific dates, being away, danger, all went away as I saw my dignified man in uniform. He was proud, but I was even more proud. He is my hero. I see the happiness and pride that he has when he marches and is called to duty to fight for his country. It is a difficult job; not only for the soldiers in uniform, but their families too.

It makes it all worth it to me when I see the joy it brings him. I realized that I do have the American dream and he is the perfect man and all the other perfection in my life will fall into place; just not the way I planned. Without love I would have nothing. Without love there is not happiness. The feeling that I do not want to be without him and the feeling that someone loves me just as much if not more than I love him is amazing. Love is a two way street; it does take compromise, sacrifice, and work. I stand by my man proud and strong because you can not help who you fall in love with. I believe that love is worth fighting for.