Posts Tagged With: Marriage

Will You Marry Me?

Two years ago today, Casey asked me to marry him. I am sure that it is quite obvious that I said yes, but I’m going to tell you the story anyway. While there is a lot of adorable back-story to this, I am going to save that for later posts. I prefer to draw this out. 😉

As former policy debaters, my husband and I are both talkers. To be honest, there is nothing that we do not talk about. As children of divorced parents, we did not take the subject of marriage lightly, but we certainly discussed it. Less than a year into our relationship, we discussed never getting married. We agreed that we would both be happy to live out our lives together, unmarried and unafraid. Soon after that discussion, we moved to Pensacola, Florida, together. It was here that I received a fairly rough introduction to the military lifestyle, as the Marine Corps sent Casey away to California on a temporary assignment two months into living together. Fortunately, we had just adopted this guy:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHis name is Barley, and yes, he is still that cute. Thank you for asking.

During my three months living on my own in our little home in Pensacola, something changed. I certainly became stronger, as I picked myself up, found a job (or three), made friends, bought a car, and explored this new city on my own. Barley and I ran every day after work along the bayou, Barley chasing crabs while the sun set and the Blue Angels flew overhead.  While that was wonderful; the emptiness I felt with Casey on the other side of the country, the longing I felt for all the little things in our life together, coupled with the realization that I could handle all of that affected me deeply. Somehow, Casey and I independently came to realize that we wanted to marry each other from opposite sides of the US. Actually, at that point I discovered that there was nothing I wanted more. He returned to Florida and we discussed our future together.

Fast forward about 9 months, and I just knew Casey would be “popping the question” soon. In fact, through careful deduction, I was able to predict it down to the time and place. Here’s how. First of all, Casey is a grand gesture kind of guy. I’ll save the story for how he first told me he loved me for another day, but I can tell you that it was over the top. Second, Casey is terrible at keeping secrets from me. For our first Christmas together, he bought me a CHI hair straightener. About 5 minutes before we exchanged gifts, he pointed to my hair straightener and asked me how it was working for me. Similarly, before he proposed, he kept getting excited about certain details of the date we had planned for our second anniversary. My first observation gave me the idea, and the second reinforced it. That date was set to be a repeat of our first date together in Fredericksburg, VA, where we were to visit right around our anniversary to attend one of my best friend’s weddings. (I made sure to warn my friend that we would probably be getting engaged the night before her wedding to make sure that she would be okay with it). 😉

DSC00450

On our date, we walked through downtown Fredericksburg, past the little cafe where we had shared a sandwich two years before. We went to see Transformers 3, since we had seen Transformers 2 on our first date together. We ate dinner at Sammy T’s, where we had shared our first dinner and Sierra Nevada. We even wore the same clothes that we had worn on our first date. I know, it’s just too much. Finally, Casey drove me by the house where I had lived during my senior year in college. We got out of the car, and in the spot where he had nervously dropped me off and asked for a kiss, our first kiss, he said something I will never forget.

“Amanda, two years ago in this spot I asked you a very important question, and today I have another one. I love you very much, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” And then, from one knee: “Amanda, will you marry me?” Crying, I said, “Of course! I would love to marry you!” As much as I had known when and where he would ask me this, nothing in the world could have prepared me for that moment.

Advertisements
Categories: Marriage, Our Story | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Four Years Ago

Casey and I had been dating for about a month and a half when he finally asked me to be his girlfriend. I hadn’t necessarily been waiting for him to ask because we had been functioning as a couple for the better part of the last month anyway. Looking back, I remember it feeling silly, and I am sure Casey was nervous to ask me, but I guess the conversation needed to happen at some point.

We had walked home from downtown Fredericksburg, VA, where we had spent the night out with some of my college friends and a few of Casey’s Marine Corps buddies from the Basic School. We must have left early because when we arrived at my house (where I lived with 5 other girls!) the door was locked and I had, of course, forgotten my keys. We sat on my front porch talking while waiting for my roommates to come home. While sharing a seat in an old rolling office chair, Casey asked me to be his girlfriend. A traditionalist, Casey always handled these matters by the book.

I could tell you a much longer story, but the point is that four years ago I became his girlfriend; and today I am his wife, and coincidentally the luckiest girl in the world.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While today I am missing you, I look forward to many, many more years together!

PS. To read about our epic (well, maybe not quite epic) first year of marriage, click here!

Categories: Our Story | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Lives I Could Have Lived, the People I Could Have Been

I have long been intrigued by the labyrinth that is life, the twists and turns determined by our directional decisions. Even having lived a fairly simple, straight-forward life thus far, there are moments in my life that radically changed its course and thus have led me to who and where I am today. I often wonder who I would be had I made different decisions at each turn, or had those moments played out differently.

baby amanda

I think back and look at the potential I had in certain areas when I was younger. I could have been a violinist, a runner, a martial artist, a lawyer, a bartender, an actress. At some point in my life these interests, however exciting or mundane, respectable or less so, could have decided who I am today. I could have lived any of those lives. Was there a point at which I made the decision not to be those people?

Well, sort of. I decided that my almost life-long dream of going to Law school to study International Law (and then save the world, single-handedly bringing an end to genocide around the globe) was not a reasonable one, given the lifestyle I had chosen as a military wife, moving every few years with my husband. At an earlier point, I had decided that being an actress or a bartender just weren’t for me.

But the rest of those people I could have been, what happened to them? At what point did I decide that I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be a runner? Did I think that to be a runner was somehow mutually exclusive with my other interests? That must have been it, because I gave up running after I went to college and joined the debate team. And I gave up the violin even earlier, but at least I’ve continued to drag my violin from one closet to another as I have pushed the violinist in me further and further away. And the martial arts? Well, I gave that up when I joined the Cross Country team in high school, because surely I could not have done both. Why did I give all that up? Where did all those other Amandas go, successful in so many different ways, happy in their singular focus in life?

xc amanda

To be fair, there were other Amandas, less happy or successful, whom I also could have been: for example, the Amanda that could have gone on to do anything but marry my husband, or the Amanda that went to another college and did not have the chance to meet some of the most important people in my life. The Amanda that stayed in an unhappy relationship forever, or the one that allowed herself to be degraded and disrespected by her mother’s husband; either of them could have lived on. Many of those versions of myself could have avoided the obstacles of being a military spouse, but none of them could have lived to be the woman that I am today.

All of these moments and decisions in my life, however obvious or subtle, happy or painful, have brought me to the life I live today. While it is interesting to look back and wonder who or where I would be had I handled those differently, I celebrate that those moments do not define me. Rather, they are pieces of who I am, who I have been, and who I can always become. I’ll never be a bartender, and I will always be Casey’s wife, but I can also be so many other people. In just a few months, I am running my first half-marathon, because I refuse to look back and say, “I could have been a runner.” Today, I am a crafter, a friend, a billing specialist, a wife, a student, a blogger, a runner, and above all, a woman who can do so many things.

Life is too short to look back at the things you could have done and wonder why you gave them up. There is always a reason for today, so we should be making our decisions every day to become the person we want to be. This way, we will never have to look back and wonder if we should have chosen a different path. We should pick up our running shoes, our violins, our LSAT study guides; and go on to live our best lives, the lives we were born to live.

2013-04-07 00.31.19

As for me, I can look back and say with certainty that of all the people I could have been, I am my favorite one. I will continue to work harder to be better and better at being happy and fighting for the Amanda that’s still here through it all.

Love always,

Me.

Categories: Goals, Military Life | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Home

Home is a funny concept. For (I’d venture to say) most people, it is fairly simple. For everyone, it is ideally a significant source of comfort and identity; a collage of memories of time, place, and people which centers you. Home gives you a sense of who you are and who you’ve been, maybe even who you’ll be. It encases a world that is purely yours. For much of my life, home has been quite complicated.

My first home was in New Jersey, although I have no memory of it, as we moved to Virginia when I was an (adorable) two-year-old. My parents bought a house in the suburbs, where I lived for the next 13 years. In that house, I lived the happiest of childhoods: wrestling as Pokemon characters with my father and younger brother; playing with frogs at the creek behind our yard; and having Easter egg hunts, trick-or-treating, and waging stink-bomb wars with the neighborhood children. When I was 11, my parents decided to separate, and I’ll never forget the time they sat us down on our old couch to give us the news.

5a

After that moment, home became more complex. My mother moved out and into a fairly rough apartment complex in the city. In the afternoons after school and weekend days we spent with her, I came to love it there. I remember my father’s reaction when I told him that I didn’t have a home anymore, since I now had two houses, each with one of my parents. Nonetheless, we made new memories in our new home and our old one. While I was introduced to violence, racism, and poverty in that apartment complex, my experience there imprinted me in a way I cannot separate from who I am today.

A few years later, as a freshman in high school, I watched both of my parents remarry. My mother moved in with her new husband and my brother and I struggled to feel at home in his house, despite his initial attempts to welcome us. My father then moved with my stepmother into a beautiful log-cabin style house on a dirt road in the outskirts of town. Neither place really felt like home, or at least they don’t now, as I look back on what was only a few years of my life. Those houses didn’t last long, as my mother divorced her second husband, and my father and stepmother moved yet again; this time into a bigger house with more land to suit their growing family (I now have two beautiful half-sisters).

Within the next few years, my Dad dropped me off at the University of Mary Washington, my new home for the next 4 years. In that time, I met some amazing people and learned a lot about myself. I survived living in a house with 5 other women, and made some incredible memories with them on our picturesque campus. A little over an hour away from my hometown, I was able to develop my independence while still being close enough to home to come and visit over the holidays.

spring formal

While traveling with the debate team in college, I met my husband. I knew that he was a big deal, but I had no idea that he would change my life as I knew it. After graduating from UMW, I moved with Casey to Pensacola, FL. Saying goodbye to my family and friends was really difficult, but I was excited about the adventures Casey and I had in store for us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In our 900- square foot home in Pensacola, Casey and I learned a lot about each other. Within a few months of living there, the Marine Corps promptly sent Casey to San Diego for a temporary assignment while he was awaiting flight school. I have never cried the way I did when I put Casey on that plane out of Pensacola, as for the first time in my life, I was entirely alone. Except for Barley, our 4-month-old beagle mix, I did not know anyone in that part of the country. I had to learn to get around the city, find a job, and start a life on my own.  Barley and I enjoyed walks along the bayou each night, and I came to love our new little home. Within weeks I found a job and was on my way to independence. When Casey came home, I felt complete. Then we moved again.

SizableSend.com-Upload-02-14-2012-767502---IMGP8411

After 9 months in Pensacola, we moved an hour north to Milton, Florida. We adjusted quickly to our new home, painting and unpacking in record time. Barley loved his new backyard, and we adopted our cat from beneath a dumpster near the house. After another 9 months, it was time to pick up and move again. Casey and I got engaged, and then headed to Texas! We spent the next year in Corpus Christi, where we planned our wedding, bought cowboy boots, got married, and then prepared for our move across the world! Corpus Christi never really felt like home to us, as we did not plan to be there long and Casey moved to North Carolina for training during our time there. While I came to enjoy parts of living in Texas, it always felt like a place in between homes (although it will always be the place where Casey and I said our wedding vows).

wedding

After 6 months apart, Casey in NC and I in Texas, we were reunited right before we picked up and moved across the world: to Okinawa, Japan. In our concrete tower apartment on a military base, we have adjusted to life overseas, with Casey traveling the world while I hold down the fort at home. Making Okinawa home has not been easy. There is no Target to run to when I need affordable window treatments, and I can’t just pick up the phone to call family back in the states. After about 6 months of life overseas, I started to feel like I needed more, that I was missing out on all the action back in America. Fortunately, I had the perfect opportunity to come back to the states, as 2 of my best friends were getting married.

A month ago, I boarded a big plane in Naha and headed for home. America. I’ve seen about half of my favorite people in the world, eaten at all the requisite American restaurants, enjoying such quintessential comfort foods as sweet tea, Vermont maple syrup, potato salad, and black bean soup in a bread bowl at Panera (about 10 times). I’ve been to Target, Old Navy, Walmart, Michael’s, PetSmart, H&M, you name it. I’ve spent time in Vermont, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Needless to say, it has been a busy month.

I stopped by the last home I lived in with my family, and felt empty when I saw someone else’s car in the driveway. I walked around the campus at Mary Washington, and realized that I’m not the only one who’s changed. My hometown, Richmond, is not the same place it once was. While I have enjoyed my time here, spent with the people I love, I have realized how lucky I am. I miss my home, my husband, my sweet dog and cat, my friends, my daily routine, all of it. I thought that I belonged to Virginia, to Mary Washington, to America. This time here has shown me that what I thought of home was too complicated.

Home doesn’t have to be where you go after a long shift at work. It’s not where you cook dinner, or go to sleep at night. Home is where you love. Where you love your family, and the sunrise, where you love yourself. The location will change. You will change. And that’s ok, because home is where your life is. Every place you call home becomes a part of you, but you make it home. My home is over 10,000 miles away, and I just can’t wait to get back there and fall in love with it all over again.

Sept-Dec 2011 452

You can’t always choose where you land, but wherever your life is, love it.

Categories: Family, Friends, Military Life, Moving, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Where is my Husband?

Image

It is Monday night at about 8:30pm as I decide to sit down and write this, out of lack of both another human outlet and further drive to fold yet another load of laundry. My husband is not home and I have not heard from him since he left home almost 14 hours ago. I quite literally do not know where in the world he is right now.

This is significant only because I make it a point to (as much as possible) always know where my husband is. Being a Marine Corps pilot, he spends much of his time flying thousands of feet above the Earth, and then landing his C-130 on all parts of it. My husband loves his job, and I could not be prouder of him; but I would be lying if I said I don’t worry about him from time to time. Over the past month and a half, there have been three crashes involving military aircraft, two of which hit (figuratively) very close to home for us.

In February, a CH-46 helicopter crashed in Thailand and my husband was in the first plane on the scene. They called in rescue support for the burning helicopter and its crew, Marines who go to work in the hangar next to my husband’s. These men were our neighbors, and while I did not know them personally, I can only imagine the moments in which their wives heard of the accident. None of the crew died that day, but at least one was critically injured, and I continue to follow his recovery on Facebook.

Last week, an EA-6B Prowler went down during a training flight near Whidbey Island, Washington. One of our very good friends from flight school is attached to that squadron, and he knew personally each of the three people that died in the crash. While I was relieved to hear that our friend was not piloting that aircraft, my heart goes out to the families of his squadron in the face of this terrible tragedy. Finally, again this week another military aircraft went down, this one an Army UH-60 Blackhawk in Afghanistan, of all places. Another five lives were taken from their families that day.

These are the events that linger in my mind as I go throughout my day, reading articles and Facebook updates that disparage the military, referring to their “lavish lifestyle” or “wrongful actions” in combat. (I do not plan on going on an angry political tirade tonight, but these ignorant and offensive statements are upsetting to someone in my position).  These are the events that color my world. Tonight I do not like that my husband is not home because I worry about him, despite the four huge engines and good safety record of the C-130.

I usually know where he is, even if I can’t talk to him while he is there. The issue with tonight is that I expected him to be home. I rushed to get home by 6, when I thought he would be home. I prepared dinner, but not having heard from him, I set it aside rather than putting it in the oven. I learned that lesson years ago, when we ate the world’s driest spaghetti because I kept it warm on the stove for almost 4 hours on a Friday night while he was at The Basic School (the Marine Corps’ 6-month officer training school where they learn everything from leading marines into terrorist encampments to dressing sucking flesh wounds with saran wrap and duct tape).

Now, at 9pm I am just sitting down to eat part of our dinner, having depleted our snacks and realizing that he may not be coming home tonight. I trust that wherever he is, he is alright. I write this post tonight because these moments are difficult for me because I hate letting go of the smaller moments I like to have control over in my life. I’ve had to give a lot of the big decisions in our marriage to the Corps, so I struggle with relinquishing control of the little ones. This is a learning process. As they say, Semper Fidelis, Semper Gumby.

Now, back to that laundry!

Always, Amanda

Categories: Military Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.