It was my junior year of High School when I reconnected with an old friend who I hadn't really heard from for a while. He was a senior at my High School and we had known each other for about two years before this. As we started to get closer and spend more time together, we eventually started dating.
The relationship got pretty serious near the end of the school year but to me, honestly, I thought it was a pretty average High School relationship. The only real obstacle we had (if you could even call it that) was the fact that he was going to graduate and go to college a year before me but, as I said earlier, we were pretty serious about each other and wanted to make it work. It was about two weeks before he graduated High School when everything changed.
It was a Thursday night and all my friends and I had stayed late at school and decided to go to hang out at the restaurant my boyfriend worked at. It was around 8 pm so we were basically the only people there. After we ordered our food and everyone was laughing and joking around at the table, my boyfriend takes his break and comes and joins us. As soon as he sits down, I noticed something was off; he was really quiet and wasn't really being active in the conversation. We end up sitting at a table by ourselves and at first, he didn't really want to tell me what was going on.
So, obviously, I assume the worst. My brain starts creating these horror stories about him breaking up with me in front of everyone, or his dream school retracted his acceptance and now he can't go to college, or that he wasn't going to be able to graduate High School for some reason.
Looking back, I should have realized that most of these horror stories that were running through my head were a little more than outlandish, but what it actually was, was something I never, in a million years, had expected.
He ends up telling me that he was going to join the National Guard and that he had already started signing papers. He started telling me that he was having trouble affording to go to college and by doing this, he wouldn't have to take out a giant loan and how this was a great opportunity for him. Honestly, I was so shocked by it, that I couldn't really form any words. A few of our friends had joined the National Guard while they were still in High School so I was familiar with it.
But, it was just something that I never expected my boyfriend to do. I mean, for God's sake, he's a Buddhist Vegetarian that likes to play video games and wants to be a Computer Programmer. So, naturally, it caught me a little bit off guard.
Fast Forward to four months later, it was time for him to leave and go to Basic Training. He had spent months going to the gym and running every day to get prepared for it.
It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to him because we both knew that communication was going to be virtually non-existent and he was going to change while he was there. When his mom and I dropped him off at the Armory, he promised me that he would be able to come home for Christmas and that he would write to me as much as possible.
Later that night, my phone rang and it was him, letting me know that his flight had just landed and that he didn't know when he would be able to call again. That was when it really hit me. He was going to be basically unreachable for the next three and a half months.
Before my relationship turned into a long distance one, I could have never imagined a relationship lasting this long in a situation like this but I learned so much about myself and my significant other.
I realized that there was so much more to being in a Military relationship than what every cute Instagram post showed and all the stereotypes that came with it. It was definitely so much harder than I originally thought it would have been but I wouldn't change a thing about this experience.
Seeing him graduate Basic Training and receive his Blue Cord was such an amazing moment and one that I'll never forget. I'm beyond thankful for the support that my family and friends gave to me while he was away. I'm so incredibly proud of him and his accomplishments and I can't wait to see where his military career takes him.