“My dad encouraged me to go to the Naval Academy. He had just been diagnosed with cancer and I wanted to make him proud. I wanted to join the Navy, serve my country, follow in my older brother’s footsteps, and play soccer in college, and the Academy allowed me to do all of that.
“I met Jeff my freshman year. He was a year ahead of me, so before my brother graduated he told Jeff, ‘My baby sister is coming here next year. You’d better not date her.’ And Jeff and I ended up getting married. We started dating right about the time my dad was near the end. Jeff came into my life and then my dad was gone. He didn’t fill the hole my dad left – no one can – but he was the glue that kept me together. My world was crashing down around me, and he held me up.
“We got married after I graduated, in 2014, while he was in flight school in Pensacola. I had 30 days of leave and he had 15. For our honeymoon, we went to Margaritaville in Pensacola so he could check in every day, and then we flew back to Virginia where we’d bought our first house. Our household goods finally arrived on a Saturday, and on Monday I was back at work and he was back in Florida. We will finally live in the same house in March 2017. I’ll go back out on deployment six months after that, but half a year together sounds like such a long time when you’ve spent so long apart. In the end though, we will have been married three years before we actually live together. It’s crazy, and we’re looking forward to only having one house payment. But the way we see it is, what’s three years when compared to spending the rest of your life together?”