Sunday, May 19, 2013

South Carolina: Part Two - Graduation Day! {Warning: Mushy-girlfriend content}

Joe graduated from basic training on a gorgeously sunny day in South Carolina. It was breezy and the air smelled sweet. Joe's family and I made our way onto the metal bleachers that over-looked Hilton Field where the new soldiers would march to. 

The ceremony was short, but it meant the world to everyone there. To the soldiers it was a declaration that their struggles over the past 10 weeks had not been in vain. To the families it showed that the worry and heartbreak they felt during that time was worth it. 

I have never experienced anything in my life that has made me as proud as I did that day. Seeing Joe in his dress uniform, standing tall, confidence in every movement he made...that was a moment in my life I will never forget. While he hasn't changed as much as I feared he would he has still changed some. The way he carries himself. The way he talks to people. It's as if he calculates every move he makes, and he moves with a purpose. The Army did that to him. :) 

Anywho, the day of his graduation we got to take him off the base! The soldiers were given an off-post pass. That was definitely unexpected.

After the ceremony we went back to our hotel so that some of the group could change. Joe and I sat on the bed while his mom and sister changed their clothes. Laying there in his arms again...I can't even begin to explain how much I missed it. I still do...

After everyone was changed we made our way downstairs, and decided on the place where we'd go to eat for lunch. At lunch we sat outside in the rays of the beautiful South Carolina sun. When lunch came to a close we asked our waitress what she recommended to do around the area. The first thing she mentioned was Finlay Park. 

Can you guess where we ended up next? ;)

Finlay Park -- Columbia, SC. 

The time at Finlay Park was spent well I think. I had wanted some alone time with Joe the whole time that we had been in South Carolina, and except for the short time I had with him the previous evening I hadn't had any. I had this genius plan as we walked behind the rest of our group, and I went with it. I grabbed his hand and took him in the direction opposite of what his family had taken. You can call me selfish all you want for stealing some of his attention away from his family. I don't really care. I had a good hour with him, and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. 

After that we spent some time in downtown Columbia where we visited a few shops and the state capital building. Joe's friends then invited us all to go to eat at a restaurant in Columbia, and although it appeared to be a good idea at the time it ended up not being so. The company was awesome. The service we received, however, was not. I won't dwell on it too much, but we ended up having to rush back to the base with food in styrofoam boxes because they didn't get their food in time after we'd ordered an hour before. :P 

The car ride back to the base sucked. I'm not going to lie. I knew what lied ahead. Goodbye. Fighting back tears I grabbed a tissue out of the package in my purse hoping Joe wouldn't see me. I knew I was going to lose it. We pulled into the parking lot near his barracks, and a flash of emotions swept over me. I was extremely happy that I was able to see him and spend as much time with him as I could. I felt very proud of all he has done. And I was also exceedingly sad because well...goodbyes are always sad. 'Goodbye' is perhaps the most heartbreaking word in the English language. Goodbye eventually came, and just like I expected it hurt. It felt like the end of the world even though I knew it wasn't. I kept telling myself "you'll see him soon", "you will get phone calls", "you will have him home in a matter of months"...but none of those words helped. The tears poured from my eyes like a dam had broken. I held onto Joe so tight I thought I'd smother him, and I kept on telling him how much I didn't want tear stains on his shirt so I was trying hard to keep that from happening. All while that was happening he held me, and it didn't feel like he was holding onto me because he had to...he was doing it because he wanted to. That was when I had an amazing epiphany. He really does LOVE me. He loves me as much as I love him. Craziness!


Saying goodbye is never easy. I watched my man walk away from me, again, and it hurt. It's okay though. I looked around me after he left, and I wasn't the only one crying. There were girlfriends crying. There were mothers crying. I realized I wasn't alone in this. Thank goodness. I don't know if I could bear it if I were.

I love my family and friends so much.

I love Joe more than I thought I could love someone. It's an incredible feeling when you realize you have everything you ever wanted, and it's something you never thought you'd have. I could lose everything; my home, my car, my comfy bed....and I would be fine as long as I have him in my life. <3 

Hope you all enjoyed my mushiness. :P

~ Always Yours,

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