I’m a couple of days early, but I had to tell you all about our anniversary “getaway” (well, staycation for him) to Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, TX!
DH and I have had a military marriage characterized by separation, which is true of 99% of military marriages. One of the biggest sacrifices you make is celebrating holidays together (and with family). Here’s the breakdown of how our relationship has gone.
August 2nd, 2007 – Married, but no wedding night, thanks to DH being at BCT (Army basic training) and having to go back to the barracks each night. Needless to say, no honeymoon either.
2008 – DH stationed in Korea on an unaccompanied tour.
2009 – DH comes home from Afghanistan on R&R (Rest and Recuperation). Glitches in travel resulted in me driving twelve hours round trip to pick him up from the airport two states over. After sleeping in, we finally made it to dinner.
2010 – DH stays behind in North Carolina, waiting to out-process. I move ahead to Colorado, where I go through in-processing for my new job.
2011 – In the middle of training, we were able to see each other over graduation weekend at BMT, but our anniversary found me at the beginning of tech school.
I share all of these stories, not for sympathy, but to lay the background as to why DH wanted to do something really special this year. With both of us on active duty orders, we were able to fly me down for a long weekend at Sheppard for our anniversary. Unbeknownst to me, DH had made arrangements with the front desk to take it to the next level! He upgraded our room to a suite, which was only maybe $20 more overall (base lodging is the way to go). He explained to them what he wanted to do, and they hooked him up with a local wedding planner. Everyone at the front desk knew to stall my check-in if I should be persistent and try to get into my room early. When we finally got in, I found no less than 100 candles lit all over the room, approximately seven floral arrangements, and scads of rose petals everywhere! The wedding planner didn’t leave open space anywhere, including the top of the toilet tank! For a man who doesn’t typically make a big deal about holidays, this was huge. A takeout Italian dinner was ready for us, with a bottle of sparkling cider on ice (neither of us drinks). He even had our original wedding cake duplicated (small, white-on-white), complete with flowers on top. Our original cake came from Walmart (scrumptious, believe it or not), and you can imagine that the bakery was the first question I asked him when I spotted it! Alas, this was not a Walmart cake, but it was just as delicious!
Look past the “Ride Me!” 😉
When DH originally told me that he had the whole weekend planned, I was initially worried because I was exhausted from the week. Luckily, we had a lot of downtimes to kick back and watch movies together. You can only spend so much time outdoors when the temperature is 105°. We even got to do a movie date on Sunday, and saw “What trip to Sheppard would be complete without seeing where DH goes to school each day? I got numerous tours of the base, went for walks through the airpark, saw a drove of jackrabbits (they’re huge and super tall), and we took pictures of the actual aircraft that DH is using for his hands-on training. Sheppard has multiple shifts throughout the day and night, and DH is on days, fortunately (aside from the heat). There’s just something remarkable about being near these beautiful pieces of machinery. You’re so small in comparison and the things they can do are just astounding. Moments like those remind me that I made the best decision by joining the Air Force. I’m really looking forward to commissioning, and I hope to be an Aircraft Maintenance Officer, where I’ll get to be on the flight line, working directly with our maintainers and our C-130s. Schooling after I commission would bring me back to Sheppard, so I was thankful for a glimpse into what the living conditions and facilities would be like when I’m here.
Given our current duty status, I couldn’t have imagined a better anniversary weekend for the two of us. As much as people gave me a hard time about making a pleasure trip to Wichita Falls, any duty station is what you make of it. With as many separations as we’ve had to (or chosen to) make during our military careers, we’re just thankful to be together and have each other.