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Mili Mondays: We Joined Together

 So sorry it's so late ladies! I had a busy day & the post was sent a little late to me today but here ya go, hope you enjoy this wonderful post form Sarah over at "Confessions of a Sailor's Wife".

"We joined together"

Sailor Man and I have been together for 8 years and married for 5. We have only been a part of the “Military life” for only 5 months. We had 7.5 years of civilian life together before this long stretch of military life.
When Sailor Man and I started dating he was dead set on being a music teacher. His true passion and calling in life is music. He is so talented; he taught himself guitar, bass and drums. And he sings. He has an amazing signing voice.  My heart melts when he cuddles with Lucy on the couch and sings her a song very softly. When we were getting engaged he wrote me a song, the last four lines being “I have a question now, what will the answer be? Sarah my love, will you marry me”? 

After graduating high school Sailor Man moved to Las Vegas to attend UNLV Music School. After living in Vegas a year we discovered how much we hated it down there, and after we got engaged we knew we needed to move back to Carson. Unfortunately for him, he lost his scholarship and we couldn’t afford for him to go to school and not work. School was placed on the back burner. 

About 4 years ago, Sailor Man started at University of Phoenix but couldn’t do a music program, so he switched his thoughts to a Finance Degree. He started working for a bank and everything was fine! We both had good stable jobs, benefits and were finally making progress with our money problems. When I found out I was pregnant we were over the moon excited, but with pregnancy comes a lot of bills. A lot of medical bills. After Lucy was born we were sitting in roughly $12,000 in medical, car, credit card debt. We were sunk. We had no choice but to move in with my family and file for bankruptcy. 

Around the same time is the first time we had the military conversation. Sailor Man claims he’d always been interested in the military life but didn’t think I’d be interested. He was right, I wasn’t. We had a newborn and were living with my parents, at that moment it was not right for us to do any kind of drastic life change. Over the next 4 years we had that same conversation over and over. For me it wasn’t the right time; he had a great job with benefits and I still wasn’t sold on the idea. 

In August 2009 Sailor Man was offered a job at an insurance company who promised us the rainbow. After quitting his job at the bank and taking on this insurance job we slowly learned how much they lied to us about the job. He was miserable. I was miserable and we realized our HUGE mistake. He went back to the bank at reduced pay and very unhappy. The military conversation came up once again and we talked to our first recruiter in November 2009.  I came totally prepared with a list of questions I wanted answered. The recruiter was very nice and answered all my questions, but the biggest question was: Could Sailor Man lose 45 pounds to meet the requirement? It was a challenge I extended to him. If he was serious about the military he’s lose the weight. If he couldn’t he’d stay at the bank and we’d just work it all out. My biggest complaint with the Navy is that they don’t accept University of Phoenix degrees. Instead of being able to enter as an officer (because he would have his BA) he had to start as an E1. BUT the Navy will pay for you to attend the University of Phoenix if you choose to go to school while you’re in. LAME LAME LAME.

The next day he started getting up at 5:30 and running up the mountain. He started a diet and exercise routine daily and lost 20 pounds by the New Year. I was shocked! He started going to MEPS in January 2010 and we started learning more and more about the life. I asked multiple people for opinions and help. I started reading military blogs and joined military groups on facebook. He continued to go to MEPS a few times a month but was never offered a job. I became increasingly frustrated. He scored really high on his ASVAB test and could have been offered a slew of awesome jobs; intelligence, nuke, language… but because we have a bankruptcy Sailor Man could not get into any of those jobs because of money issues. 

I started thinking it wasn’t going to happen. I felt like one thing after another was going against us, and then in early April he went to MEPS and was offered a job of Ship’s Servicemen (SH). He called me and we discussed it and he took it. I officially became a Navy wife on that day. We learned that his boot camp date would be in August, we had 5 months to prepare. HAHAHAHAHA. On April 16 Sailor Man called me from work to inform me that his recruiters called, he would be leaving May 4 for boot camp. 18 days from then. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. We started talking to Lucy about daddy having to go away for a long time, but he loved her very very much. 

On May 4, 2010 I kissed my husband good bye and he set out for boot camp. I didn’t cry much to my surprise but I missed him like crazy. I wrote him letters every night and Lucy drew him pictures. We sent him photos and I prayed for him every day. I am thankful Lucy and I were living with my parents, it made those 8 ½ weeks fly by. I flew to Chicago on June 30 to attend his graduation. I have never been so filled with pride and patriotism as I was on that day. To see those men and women in uniform, to see them willingly join the military in war time, to see my husband become the man I always knew he was.
After boot camp he left for his A-school training and I spent the month wondering where we’d be stationed. Norfolk? Washington? Japan? San Diego? I thought of all the possibilities. I was shocked and relieved to find out we were headed to San Diego. I am glad to be close enough to family but far enough away to be our own family. We headed to San Diego in early August and got all settled in when the doom settled over my head. 

We knew when we moved to the area that the ship Sailor Man was assigned to was out to sea. Which meant there was a 95% chance he’d be leaving, but there was that 5% chance he wouldn’t have to go. No such luck. 15 days after we moved to a strange city where we knew no one, Sailor Man flew out to meet his ship to help them finish out their deployment. This is new to us, we’ve never spent this much time apart and it’s been up and down. I’ve had days where I do nothing but cry quietly to myself. I have days when Lucy constantly cries for her daddy. He has days where he is so homesick. He has days when he feels like this is a HUGE mistake. 

We made this decision together. We joined the military together, as a family, and this was the choice we made. We knew it would be hard going in, and I love the saying “if it’s hard it means it’s worth it”. I couldn’t have said it better. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about the homecoming. I am surprised by the strength I’ve had to show since he left. I’m touched by the outpouring of love from fellow military spouses and I’m genuinely impressed with the way we’ve been treated. Sure, there are things that the recruiters left out or flat out lied about, but I don’t feel like this was a huge mistake. I have a feeling every soldier or sailor goes through those emotions during deployment. It’s not easy and I’d rather he come home to us every night but I am so proud of what he is doing. I have turned into a true patriot of this country thanks to him. I love him more than anything in this world and I could not be filled with anymore pride and joy than I am at this moment.

~ The Sawyer Bunch