I met the love of my life at 18 years old. I was a brand new Soldier, and so was he. We fell hard and fast. We didn’t know what the future held, but we knew we didn’t want to spend another moment without each other. Before I even realized what was happening I was marrying the blue-eyed guy I locked eyes with just 4 short months earlier. 4PM couldn’t come fast enough that Friday, we piled in the car, vowed to love one another as long as we both shall live, and honeymooned at local cracker barrel with a handful of other soldiers in tow. To say we had a lot of growing up to do would be an understatement. 13 years, 2 kids, military life, and a thousand rewarding and painful lessons later, here I stand, loving another man, learning from my mistakes and building something beautiful, and my husband taught me how to do it.
Loving Nate taught me to have standards, to never settle for less than I deserve. He loved me more than anything, and even though,( due to my own insecurities,) I sometimes questioned that, the reassurance continues to exist. It exists in the form of our beautiful children, in the way we built our life. It exists in others. They saw the way he lived and loved, and they never let me forget it.
Loving Nate taught me how to communicate. Over the course of 13 years we have had to communicate in many ways about many things. Miles apart or face to face, it was a learning process. Communication is talking about the tough stuff too. The things no one wants to talk about. Life, death, guilt, interesting little conversations with a new relationship on road trips about what actually happens when someone dies. ALL of it.
Loving Nate taught me that no matter what we are faced with, if we never give up , we will be okay. Marriage, Children, Military life, Deployments, injuries, the constant fight to create a sense of normalcy, change, loss, ..soo many things, and yet still, I am okay, because I still haven’t given up. I haven’t given up on me, I haven’t given up on hope and I haven’t given up on continuing to live the life we created.
Loving Nate taught me that it’s okay to love again, it’s okay to be happy, and there is room in my heart for two. The one I loved first, and the one I’ll love last.
Loving Nate taught me to look for the good in everything. This year, I’ll grieve the loss of my first love, my heavenly valentine, but, I’ll also celebrate the gift that is my earthly valentine. I mean really who gets this lucky twice?