Doing Things Alone

Hey there, lovelies! It’s been a hot minute since a new post, because I’ve been SUPER busy, and also, the Marine Corps hates my guts. Bright side, my housing application is done, and I will hopefully be jumping a plane to the West coast before the end of summer! 

It’s the end of prom weekend, and I know more than one girl who went to prom alone, or with friends on Saturday. And I know how much it sucked. Not because prom is monumental or anything, but because it’s one of those things that he’s supposed to be there for. 

I went to my senior prom alone. Sure, I had my Grace, my best friend, but she’s not Ricky. And I spent half the night crying in the bathroom, and I spent half the weekend holed up in my room at the beach house on the phone with my then boyfriend. Prom is just a dance. It’s not that important. But it’s not prom that you wished he was there for, I know. It’s that you miss him and wish he were there everyday, and prom is supposed to be an extra special day, and his absence is magnified a hundred fold. 

I did a lot of things alone, that first year in the Corps. He left on 8/11 for boot, and it was my very first day of high school without him. I, a senior, felt like a freshman, without his hand in mine. Which, admittedly, would’ve been the case anyway, but he wasn’t there for me to text during the boring classes or to come over after school or to pick me up after practice, either. Homecoming, prom, band banquet, football games, all the events that I’d had him for before; absolutely alone. I had my friends, and Grace was an amazing date, always. But it’s not the same. 

And the big one: GRADUATION. I am a covertly sentimental female. I will not say “This is important to me, and I want you to be there.” But that’s what I meant when I asked if he would be able to make it. And up until about 2 weeks before, we thought he would. Until command said, “Oh, nope. Sorry, bud, you’re going to be in the field for two weeks. No can do.” And that was that. 

I picked a dress and wore cute heels (band geek tip: when you spend hundreds of hours marching on turf, walking it in heels is no biggie) and did my hair and wore a stupid cap and gown with all the people I had grown up with. I sat in a chair next to my classmates, and I FaceTimed my best friend across the field. I took a selfie as I walked across the stage, because that’s what Ricky had done the year before, and it was as close as I could be to him in that moment. And when I got back to my seat, all I could think about was that he was missing. Not that I’d finally done it. Not that I had suffered through awful teachers and kids I hated and stupid projects for a piece of paper. All I was thinking about was how my very best friend in all the world hadn’t been there for something that had been important. 

Which is what I’m sure lots of girls felt this past weekend. Here’s the biggest piece of advice I can give you: get used to it, sister. It’s not his fault. He can’t make it to everything you want him to be at. You will have prom, you will graduate, you will give birth to children, and he won’t be there. Your babies will turn one, two, ten years old, and he might be halfway across the world. And it’s not his fault. He’s doing something much bigger than your lives together, and you will always take a backseat to the mistress that is the military. She’s got it in writing, girlfriend. 

But you know what? When he misses things, he will always try and make it up. About a week after graduation, Grace and I were in bed one morning after spending the night, eating cookie dough for breakfast, I believe. And somebody knocked on my door. Now, if you know me personally, I do not like people who knock on my door before 11 am. I do not like people who continue to knock on my door, after I have not answered. But the knocking was consistent, so I got out of bed and it was my boyfriend’s mom, saying she brought my graduation present. Like? What? First off, you’ve already given me a present, and now this one can’t wait until the afternoon? 

Turns out, he couldn’t wait until the afternoon. I walked into my driveway and there was the stupid boyfriend who had missed my graduation a week before. The very next day, he proposed, and here we are, almost a year later and married for almost half of that. So, yeah. He missed banquet. And homecoming. And football games. And prom. And graduation. But the payoff was kind of an even trade. I don’t care that he missed all those things, because in the end, he’s mine and I’m his, and we’ve got the rest of forever to experience things together. 

So, to the girl who cried on prom night and the girl dreading a milestone without who matters most: think long and hard before you make this your life. It will be lonely. It will hurt, and it will suck. But he will always try and makeup for the misses, and he will always love you fiercely, because he doesn’t know what he’ll miss next. 

Live hard, laugh harder, and love the hardest.  

XOXO, 

Em. 

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