For the kick-off, I'll do my best to throw on my rosey glasses and grace you with a little optimism.
I wish that I had something profound and gracious to write. And while I know that all the good outweighs the sacrifices (or I wouldn't be doing this) it's hard to be quiet enough to hear the meek, whispering reminders of choice. The Staff Sergeant told me he was in the Army after luring me to coffee. I considered walking out the door, giving him my best wishes and telling him to be safe but never to call. However (entranced by his good looks and good shoes), I took my coffee from the counter and followed him back to our table. He talked about literature and family and his smile, so perfectly perfect was hypnotizing. By closing time my bones had dissolved and my limbs were tingly and beyond my body's physical acknowledgment that something was different, I couldn't stop what would happen in the months and months to follow.
I was living the urban-dreamer life. I had dibs on a loft in downtown Nashville, hopes to study sociology at Vanderbilt or to earn an MFA in writing, plans that snaked ten-times around the earth's circumference that did, in no way include or tolerate the Army. Needless to say, I'm not in the loft of my dreams nor am I in a masters program at Vanderbilt, but I can say without a shadow of doubt that I am better for the altered plans (think space and money). A year and a half ago I couldn't have told you that I'd be living it up in army-ville, working may way through a deployment. In fact, I might have told you that a deployment was impossible.
I remember sobbing over the scene in The Interpreter when an African terrorist blows up the bus. I thought to myself, I can't do this. I thought that phrase a hundred times before looking around and realizing that I am doing it, regardless of how hard and heavy some days are. At some point the thought became a question of how to be not whether or not I was strong enough.
I hesitate to categorize any choices that I've made or changes to choices as "things I have given up", rather my perspective has changed and what I want out of life has taken a detour once again. What I have [temporarily] given up is time and proximity. He's not the first thing I see in the mornings or the last that I see before bed. I've given up kisses and running inside jokes and dinner for two and the luxury of speed dial and an answer. I've given up a lot of control that I probably never had anyway but let myself believe that I did.
As I tell him almost daily, in emails that I'm not sure he really has time to read: I wouldn't change anything about where I live, who I love, and what that means about the person I have to be. I don't like this leg of it but it will make the time that he's home so much better and so much more appreciated.