Graduation events are over, and it's been quite the emotional weekend!
It all began with the long drive to Alabama. Originally, Brandon had been told that we would have four hours together that first night. Actual time together: none. Nada. I knew this was coming, but it was still tough. . . especially since he was having dinner with his flight. Right down the block from my hotel. Yes, he actually passed my hotel both coming and going, but couldn't stop in to say hello. *sighs* In good news, I had an absolutely delicious Cajun meal with my family.
I didn't get any sleep that night. I was soooo excited about seeing him the next morning! The plan was for him to meet me in the parking lot before my first event (spouses orientation) so that we could have a few minutes together before we were split up for the morning. What actually happened: I waited in the parking lot, watching other couples reunite, while Brandon was stuck in an unexpected meeting and couldn't even let me know he wasn't coming.
As rough as that was, I got over it and really enjoyed spouses orientation. They had a panel of military wives (and one military husband!) answering questions and going over the basics of insurance, benefits, and services on base. It was very informative and it was great to see other "newbie" wives. I only got to chat with a few of them personally, but I was amazed by how we were instantly comfortable with each other.
Finally, noon rolled around and we were able to attend the retreat ceremony and see our airmen for the first time. I had a hard time picking Brandon out of the crowd! I did spot him, but was only 50% sure it was him. He had lost weight and was super tan!
After retreat concluded, the airmen ran out to meet their loved ones. . . well, except for Brandon and his flight. They immediately turned around and left for another meeting.
At that point, I was seriously about to break down into tears. Our families and I waited on the field for what felt like an eternity and FINALLY he was released! I ran into his arms. That first hug was a moment that I will never forget. I'll also never forget his first words: "I love you. I missed you. I only have 45 minutes."
. . .
There were nearly 300 students. All of them were released to spend the next three hours with their families, except for 18 who had to attend a meeting. Brandon was one of the 18. Of course.
We jumped in our cars and headed for the BX so that Brandon could scarf some lunch. He had to leave before his parents even got out of line and made it to the table.
Twenty minutes later, I was sitting in the booth and spoke (out loud) to my phone, "Please ring! Please be Brandon saying that the meeting was canceled!" I looked up and Brandon was walking toward us! The meeting didn't happen and he was free.
So we had some time with him before the final event of the day. After that, we were able to go to dinner as a big family and then he got to come back to my hotel for two hours before curfew.
Skipping over that and to the next day. . . ;)
This was the ugly part. Today should have been an amazing day of celebration. It wasn't. See, we had a little bit of a problem. . .
A few weeks ago, all the students were asked to submit a travel itinerary. Brandon and I were planning our "second honeymoon" anniversary trip, as you well know. We submitted the itinerary and Brandon was told it was fine by three different people.
But it wasn't. Our itinerary included leaving the country. . . and it was disapproved. . . and we didn't find that out until this morning. Immediately after graduation, Brandon had to go try some last minute paperwork in an attempt to get approval. We didn't even have time to snap a picture together. The paperwork was again denied. The officer who had to deny it honestly felt horrible about it, but he wasn't authorized to approve it. He had no choice. Of course, this left us in a lurch. We had to cancel our plans (and lost several hundred dollars. even with our travel insurance) and only had an hour to submit a new itinerary.
There was no time to plan anything else, so we made a quick decision. We're spending just a couple of nights in a hotel then Brandon will report on Tuesday (the first day after the holiday).
That was very hard. This is the first time we have ever planned a big vacation like this. Our honeymoon was three nights in a state park! We were so, so excited, and had spent so much time talking and planning for the trip. But the part that hurts the most is giving up the leave time together. I know it's only been a month and that's nothing in the military world, but we've never been apart this long. We needed the time together to reconnect and destress. . . and Brandon really needed a vacation after the very tough program he just went through!
But all that matters in the end is that we are together again. My sweet husband is sleeping beside me right now. He's sunburned, too thin, covered in bruises and scrapes, has an injured ankle, and is exhausted-- but he's here, and I get to fall asleep next to him tonight.
We'll take our honeymoon eventually. We'll start the paperwork process wayyyy ahead of time, and check with at least ten people before paying for any of it. . . but we will take it. It's important, and we'll make it work down the road.
Meanwhile, I'm going to soak up every minute with my husband over the next three days.