John and I met at Texas A&M in 2008. I was a freshman, and he was a junior. It was love at first.....Yes! He is 21 and can buy alcohol! Haha but really, I loved him right away. I adored the way his worn out wrangler jeans and pearl snap shirt fit snug around his 180lb. perfect bod. My heart was always thumping out of my chest with joy when we would go dancing, and he would lead me around the scuffed up floors at Hurricane Harrys. I just couldn't get enough of him. The way he loved the Lord, his family, friends, country, and of course Texas A&M University, only made me grow fonder of him.
We dated for 2 years before John asked me to be his wife. They were the most magical two years of my life, so I knew that it could only get better. We had an amazing, country wedding on July 2, 2011. All of our family and friends showed up to support us in joining our lives together.
As life went on, John went to work at MedAssets and I began my teaching career. We were extremely satisfied living in a hip area in Plano, Texas called The Shops at Legacy where you can walk to the bars and restaurants. It was fun. We met many great friends while living there that we are still close with today.
In May, we found out that I was pregnant and that John was going to be deployed to Afghanistan with the Texas Army National Guard. May of 2012 was a stressful month for us. We were overjoyed about me being pregnant, but heartbroken that John was having to leave. He would have to leave in June to attend training for 5 months before deploying. We decided to move out of our apartment, store most of our belongings and move me in with my amazing Aunt and Uncle. They offered to help me out while I was pregnant and then with the new baby while John was away. In September I realized that I was going to need more space once the baby came. I decided to move into a town home only a few streets away from my Aunt and Uncle. My best friend from college moved into the town home with me. We decorated the place and set up a nursery for baby Jackson, who would be arriving in January.
On January 4th, I went to the hospital with my mom and sister-in-law, who were going to be in the delivery room with me. I was scheduled to be induced so we could somewhat plan for John to be able to Skype for the birth. 7 1/2 hours into labor it was time for baby Jackson to arrive. John was on Skype. We had perfect connection and he was able to see his son being born. It was beautiful. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of love I felt for Jackson when they laid him on my chest for the first time and we had skin-to-skin time. At the same time I felt extremely sad that John was not able to be with me in person to witness this miracle.
It is hard to explain how you can feel love and sorrow at the same time. I did. I felt joy in having given birth to such a beautiful baby. At the same time, my heart was aching every single day because I missed John so much.
As life went on, I learned how to cope with John being gone. Jackson was growing so fast and I wanted to soak in every second.
Overall, this deployment has taught me to slow down, enjoy life, and breathe.