We're coming up on a year of Josh being in the Army. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago that I pulled up in front of the recruiter office to drop him off. It was sunny and warm, the middle of March, and life was going on as normal all around us. The parking lot was busy, and other families were saying their goodbyes in the entry way of the building.
We looked at each other in the car with a mixture of excitement, fear, and love. Josh got out and I met him halfway holding him as tightly as I could. I couldn't say much more than, "I love you," around the lump in my throat. He wouldn't be home with us again until late in the fall, and at that moment it just felt like an eternity. I was proud of him already, of the sacrifices he was making for his family, and I wanted to tell him but couldn't form the words. I watched him go first to Sophia's door, our sweet baby girl only five months old, kiss her softly and tell her that Daddy loves her. He was already fighting back the tears, as I am now just remembering the moment, when he got to Lincoln's door. He looked at me and tried to smile before reaching in to kiss his son. He told him in a quiet voice that Daddy had to go away for a while, but that he loved him so much, and he'd be thinking of him everyday. Then he kissed me one last time, and walked through the door with the other men.
I remember crying the whole drive home, taking a few extra roads to just clear it out of my system. Then carrying the babies up to our apartment one at a time, knowing I had a long road ahead of me also, as a single mother for the next few months. I felt really alone and scared, everything was so new, and I had no idea what to expect, or when I'd hear from my best friend again. Before that day, Josh and I had only spent about two weeks of the last eight years apart. He's my world, he understands me like no one else can, and he really is my best friend, and I was terrified to face life without him, even temporarily.
But I pushed on, some days were harder than others, but before long the kids and I had a routine going. Letters and phone calls were like GOLD, but maybe what helped the most was having that Facebook page to go to, where so many Echo Company 2/47 wives were also waiting for any information on their Husband. It was on this facebook page, that I met some really good friends and an extraordinary woman.
I make friends pretty easily, but it's not every day that you connect with someone on a higher level. Here I was, in the completly new experience, scared, tired, and alone... and then out of nowhere there was Andrea.
We clung to each other all the way up to graduation. We met each other in the parking lot of the PX at Fort Benning, GA on June 1st, 2010, and hugged like we'd known each other our whole lives. We went through this experience, of waiting for our husbands, of being both parents, and then we got to share that magic moment when we got our Husbands back.
We just get each other, we're a lot a like, even though we come from opposite sides of the country. I eat food she's never heard of, and she says things in ways that make me laugh, but it makes our friendship even more interesting. I have the Army to thank for finding me a friend through all of this, for helping both of us to get through the tough times, and have someone to share the happy times.
We got through AIT together, which in so many ways was harder than Basic Training. Now our husbands could call home more often, we could skype, and even got to see them on a few four day weekends, but it was harder every time to say goodbye. Friends and Family back home meant well, tried to help us through, but there's something to say about being in the same place emotionally as someone else, being each others strength when we really needed someone.
To call Andrea my best friend isn't close enough to the truth, she's my family now, and as long and scary and different as this year has been. As hard as it was to adjust to this new lifestyle, I'm thankful every day that we found each other.
I'm kind of rambling, I meant to talk about what a journey this year has been, but my heart got away with me. I feel utterly blessed to have a husband that's my best friend, and a woman that's like my very own sister. I guess that's what I'm trying to say. As hard as the last year has been, and as scary as the upcoming one is going to be, I have someone very special to me, that I know is always going to be there. I know you're reading this Andrea, and I thank you for the friendship you've given me so freely, I love you. I am here for you always.
I'm overly emotional today or something, so I'll end here, until next time, you've been Nicked.