We changed our life (Part 2)

Part 1

We spent the next few days in Montgomery AL for Aaron’s graduation festivities.

I finally got my hug picture.

We enjoyed spending time together as a family as we walked around beautiful (and blazingly hot!) Maxwell Air Force Base. The boys loved seeing the airplanes all over base.

For me though, as wonderful as it was to be together again as a family, it was also an adjustment. We had been separated from Aaron for over two months. The longest time we had ever been apart before this was a weekend.

We went to the formal Dining Out banquet on Thursday evening (so enjoyed dressing up and going out with my handsome airman!) and, while I loved seeing the pictures and hearing the inside stories (most of which needed explanation) I was struck by everything I didn’t know.

Dining out with my handsome almost-officer

Aaron had two months of experiences without me (and vice versa) and that was very strange to think about. In the last 11 years of our marriage, we have shared every experience, if not physically together, at least in daily conversation. While he was at OTS (Officer Training School) we were lucky to get a 15 minute Skype call, and that was usually broken up 3-4 times due to poor internet connection. I’m extremely thankful for this communication as I know many military couples have much less. Nevertheless, the lack of communication was very difficult for me.

I don’t know what I was expecting when we reunited, but it was weird, this strange mix of finally!, euphoria, giddiness, annoyance, exhaustion, loneliness, and a longing for normal in the middle of upheaval.

I was also intensely grateful for the number of people who came to celebrate this milestone in Aaron’s life. My parents, Aaron’s parents, my brother, Aaron’s sisters (and nieces and nephews), and our friend Miguel all came to celebrate.

My parents

Aaron’s Dad and sister Angela

My brother Kellan, a Navy Lieutenant, performed the Oath at Aaron’s Comissioning. It was incredibly special.

Aaron’s mom and I pinned on his 2nd Lieutenant bars at his Commissioning Ceremony

Aaron’s first salute went to his dad, a former Marine. Definitely the most emotional moment of the morning.

But because of all the wonderful people who came to celebrate, Aaron was pulled in a million different directions for the next few days, and the kids and I felt this pull acutely. As much as I did my best to make these special days all about Aaron, there were also tears, meltdowns, sharp words, and long talks (and not just with the kids).
It may seem strange to write about the not-so-sunny parts of the graduation weekend because for all intents and purposes, it was wonderful. But it was also challenging, draining, emotional, confusing, and awkward.

Right after the graduation parade with my newly commissioned Officer, 2nd LT Meng

I wish changing your life was all warm, wonderful feelings. It’s beautiful, but growth and transition are a lot more complicated than that.
To be continued…

Part 3
Part 4

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