Adam and I met in 2009 on the dance floor of a local honky tonk. (You’ve already heard most of this story before.) He was cute and could dance. Like, really dance not those drunken gyrations that most guys at the club call dancing. I had a boyfriend at the time but Adam and I always exchanged hellos in passing and shared a dance or two. We even discovered that we were neighbors in the same apartment complex. Through the years, we loosely kept in touch, just enough to know the other was around.
In 2012, I finally ended the relationship with my boyfriend. (It was a long time coming, guys.) Like some sort of magic, Adam popped back into my life. (Okay, maybe it wasn’t magic. The truth is he was secretly Facebook stalking me. Creeper.) He asked me out for weeks; I always came up with some sort of excuse for not meeting him. But he persisted.
I knew Adam was a sailor. I’d had my share of sailor encounters. My first real heartbreak was at the hands of a soldier, I’d dated a few sailors, my ex was a sailor. It’s hard to avoid the military when there’s three bases in town. I knew all about those military guys and didn’t have very fond thoughts of uniforms. I’d been through deployments, I’d seen what happens when the service ends, and I knew how catty military girlfriends and wives could be. No thank you, not for me.
One night out of boredom (if we’re being honest), I agreed to meet Adam for drinks. Since we had a little history, conversation flowed and we had a lovely casual date. We continued this for a couple of weeks before we went on a “real” date. My first ride on a motorcyle. That date was equal parts romantic and terrifying. I was doing two things I swore I’d never do – ride motorcycles and fall for another sailor.
It wasn’t until our first kiss that I was convinced to become Adam’s girlfriend. We went out for weeks before he tried anything. He was a gentleman and a lot of fun, something I wasn’t used to. But his military career was always in the back of mind. If this relationship continued, would I be able to handle deployments? Moving? The constant fear that he wouldn’t return home?
As we prepare for our wedding in March, the answer to those questions is a solid YES. Because the military is different with Adam. He loves his job and country. He would be devastated to be discharged before he could retire. (Something that is a very plausible thanks to his health.) But he treats his job with the military like any other career. And I’ve learned to think of it like that as well. He’s good at leaving work at work. When he’s out of uniform, he’s just Adam, not Adam The Sailor. And I admire him for being able to play multiple roles in life and not let one become all consuming.
I know that this life with the military isn’t going to always be rainbows and unicorns. But I’m prepared to take the bad with the good to be with the man I love. In a couple of years, Adam will be up for new orders and I will follow him. If need be I will leave Jacksonville, the place I’ve called home for all 28 years of my existence, to move to a new city where we will have to find a new place to live. He will deploy, something that’s really important to him, and I will be without him for months at a time. But instead of dreading all of these changes, I’m thinking of them as new adventures. New places to see, new people to meet, new memories to make.
Happy Veteran’s Day to all of those who serve, especially my sweetheart. Your duty to this country is commendable. We owe so much of this nation’s safety and evolution to you.
Also, quick soapbox moment. Veteran’s Day is a time to thank those who have or are currently serving in the military. Memorial Day is for remembering those who gave their lives for this country.
Photo taken July 2014 at Adam’s reenlistment in Kings Bay, Georgia.