Once upon a time, in early May 2002, Girl met Boy in study hall. It was her Freshman year of high school, and Girl thought Boy was pretty cute. He was older and he could drive, so that was awesome too…but not only was Boy cute, he was sweet and respectful, which Girl appreciated very much.
On their first date Girl and Boy watched a movie, complete with Twizzlers, which was supervised by her terminally ill (yet very protective!) daddy. Girl and Boy would talk on the phone til 3 in the morning, go on long walks in the park, and fell in love pretty much immediately. Their first kiss was May 21st, 2002 and they were 15 and 17, respectively. The rest is history.
Almost a year later, Girl’s daddy passed away in March 2003, and Boy was always there for Girl. He took two days off school to be with Girl. He sat next to her at the funeral and held her hand. Boy’s family was very supportive of Girl, too, and always there for her as well. But only three months later Boy left for Bootcamp because he had joined the United States Marine Corps, and Girl was very sad. Girl missed him very much and wrote him letters all the time.
Boy graduated Bootcamp in September 2003, and became a machine-gunner with 2/7 Weapons Company, stationed in the Mojave Desert in California. Girl still missed Boy very much. He bought his first cell phone so they could talk on the phone all the time, and they did. They saw each other on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
But they found out that Boy would be deployed to Iraq less than 5 months after graduating Bootcamp. Girl was scared and missed Boy more than ever. He left on Valentine’s Day, 2004, and they celebrated their 2 year anniversary in May with a long phone call. He was an accident in July which resulted in Boy calling Girl from the hospital with internal bleeding. She was terrified. Boy was resilient, though, and completed his 7-month tour, returning in September 2004 at the beginning of Girl’s Senior year of high school. They went to her Homecoming together, and his Marine Corps Ball. Since Girl had turned 18, she would fly to visit him whenever she had a chance, whether it was in L.A., Palm Springs, or Las Vegas. They loved each other very, very much and knew the long-distance was worth it.
In February 2005, Boy flew home and surprised Girl. He proposed! Her Mom and sister were both willing accomplices in the surprise, and very supportive. Girl was over-the-moon! But then Boy found out that he had to deploy to Iraq for a 2nd tour in July 2005. Girl and Boy were both sad. They were going to wait to get married until after he returned, but eventually decided to “take the plunge” before he deployed. They got married less than a week after Girl’s graduation from high school on June 17th, 2005, after 3 years of dating. She was 18 and he was 20, and they were very happy.
Less than 3 weeks later, on the 4th of July, Boy left for his 2nd deployment to Iraq. Again, Girl was scared and missed Boy horribly. She knew he was in Fallujah and constantly in danger, so while Boy was gone she tried to stay busy. She was accepted to a top-tier university and decided to start her higher education in the Spring. Girl wanted to have a “normal” college experience, so she lived in the dorms. She had a great roommate and they had a lot of fun, but she was very studious as well. Girl was always faithful to her beloved Boy, and eagerly awaited his calls. ((And if anyone has ever said otherwise, they were fucking liars…mmmmmm-kay?))
Girl did very well in college, but after 1 semester, Girl could not bear to be away from Boy voluntarily any longer. 2½ years apart was enough! She decided to put school on “pause,” and she moved to California so she and Boy could be together at last. Boy returned safely from his 2nd deployment in late January 2006, but 3 of his good friends had been killed in action, so it was bittersweet. Girl was happy to have Boy back, and they were both very happy to be together again.
Girl had gotten Marine Corps base housing, and prepared the home for his arrival, meaning she bought a bedroom set. ((Heh, heh.)) Boy and Girl did a lot of furniture shopping together, and overall enjoyed each others’ company. It was refreshing to be together and they were still very much in love. This was the beginning of their married life together, without a war keeping them apart. In Spring 2006, they welcomed two puppies into their little family, a golden retriever and a yellow lab. Girl, Boy, and The Dogs were a little family. But it was not always happy. Boy was often irritable and volatile…an often unseen after-effect of war. This was a difficult time for Girl, but they changed and grew together, and never gave up on each other. They were still very much in love.
Luckily, Boy did not have to deploy anymore. After 4 long years, he was honorably discharged from the Marines in June 2007. Boy and Girl moved back to their home state, and decided that they would finish college together. The adjustment was hard, but they supported each other completely. Boy got a part-time job at UPS to help pay the bills and provide health insurance, and fortunately the GI Bill helped with the rest of their expenses.
Girl was able to attend classes full-time, and was excited to be back in academia, but Boy was having trouble transitioning from a combat Marine mentality to the “civilian world.” Boy missed his friends, and it was a difficult change from the Marine Corps Infantry lifestyle. Mentally, the change was tough on Boy. Having been there with Boy, and experiencing it first-hand, Girl supported Boy and encouraged him to move forward and make progress. She listened. She didn’t pry or push. But she was always there, his constant. It was a very private and personal struggle.
On December 14th, 2007, they found out Girl was pregnant. This was a BIG surprise for Boy and Girl, since they had just started school again. The timing was not ideal, as their steady military income was gone, but Boy and Girl had been together for 5½ years, married for 2½ years, with two 7-month combat deployments behind them…so they knew if they could handle that, they could handle anything.
In March 2008, they learned that they were expecting a Little Princess. Girl was uncomfortable and felt like there was a parasite in her body draining all her energy. Boy was nervous and wondered if he would be a good Daddy, but Girl had no doubts that he would be an amazing father. They became more and more excited each day, and eagerly awaited the arrival of their Little Princess.
Nearly two weeks past her due date, Girl had become convinced that Little Princess was trying to torture her, but on August 24th, 2008, Little Princess made her arrival at 7:54pm. She weighed 7lbs. 11oz. and was 20 inches long. Little Princess was absolutely perfect, and Boy and Girl were amazed by the Little Princess they had created together. So Little Princess joined Boy, Girl, and The Dogs, and their little family grew.
Little Princess was a mercifully well-behaved little baby. Girl loved to play dress-up with Little Princess and give her lots of cuddles. Boy loved to tickle Little Princess to make her giggle, and give her lots of kisses. The birth of Little Princess also helped Boy change his outlook on life: he felt hopeful again, where he had previously been struggling with the mental implications of combat. Boy was constantly striving to overcome any war-related issues he had, not only for himself, but also for his relationship with Girl and Little Princess.
Boy and Girl continued to go to school, which was very tricky with Little Princess. Boy and Girl both switched to part-time, but they alternated school days and made it work. They were both very determined to reach their goals, not only for themselves, but to set a good example for Little Princess. Little Princess was a very loved little child. Soon she was babbling and walking, and before they knew it, she turned 1….and then 2. Boy and Girl just loved watching Little Princess grow up.
Soon after Little Princess’s 2nd birthday, Girl’s mom became gravely ill, with a combination of heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, and lung failure. Girl was very close with her mother and was devastated. Boy was an amazing and supportive husband, and he encouraged Girl to go spend as much time as possible with her mother, even though she was far away in California. But Boy was sad too, because he had known Girl’s mother for 8 years, and also because he knew that Girl was sad. Eventually, Girl’s mom came home from the hospital for hospice care and she passed away 6 days later on October 3rd, 2010.
Little Princess was too young to understand why Girl was upset and sad, but Boy was a great husband and Daddy, so he always tried to cheer Girl up. He told her he loved her all the time, and always let her know she could talk if she wanted. Girl was grateful. But within the next few months, Girl’s remaining 3 grandparents died too, and it was overwhelming. Boy was vigilant and always let Girl know that he was there for her.
But Girl and Boy always made time for each other, they would go on dinner dates and grown-up vacations together. Their relationship was very important to them, so they made it a priority in their lives.
Over the next year, Little Princess turned 3. Time was flying. School kept Girl busy. Her hard work paid off. In December 2011, Girl graduated from college with her bachelor’s degree in English Linguistics, and minors in Women’s Studies and TESOL. She was very proud of herself, and Boy was very proud of her. He told her all the time. And Girl also knew her parents would have been proud, which made her feel good.
Boy was going to graduate soon too (within the year), and Girl and Boy planned on moving back to California to get grown-up jobs. They loved the weather there, and Little Princess could play outside all day long if she wanted to. So, Girl started a photography business because she didn’t want to get a job and have to move right away, because it seemed impractical. Throughout the year, Boy kept busy with his last couple semesters of class, and Girl worked on her business. Boy had come very far recovering from the traumas of war, and Girl and Boy loved each other more than ever. They could still talk until 3 in the morning.
As for their Little Princess, she was growing fast…too fast! In August 2012, Little Princess turned 4. The next month, Little Princess started 4K kindergarten. Girl and Boy wondered where the time was going. And Boy started his very last semester of college. Then their plans for California changed.
The military had always been an ever-present thought for Boy. He knew that he missed it, and Girl knew it too. He missed the camaraderie, the structure, the “Man Shit,” the teamwork, the leadership, and the sense of purpose. In Fall 2012, Boy decided he wanted to join the Army (the Marines were downsizing and no longer taking prior service). Girl wanted Boy to be happy, and she was very supportive of Boy. She knew that nothing would ever compare to the military for him. Plus, Girl had her bachelor’s degree, so she wouldn’t need to work at the PX for minimum wage, or live vicariously through her husband’s accomplishments.
On November 8th, 2012, Boy officially enlisted in the Army, with Girl’s blessing. It was going to be a new adventure. By this time, Boy and Girl had been together 10½ years, married for 7½ years, and knew that together they could handle anything.
Now, Boy and Girl were not perfect, by any means, but they worked hard at their relationship. They tried, and continue to try. They communicated and never tore each other down. They refused to ever give up, and never will. They will always be there for one another, loving and supporting each other, through anything, no matter what. ‘Til death do them part.