Walking down the aisle can change the life of any woman who decides to marry the love of her life. But what if that also meant moving to a new state in order to live, marry, and be a part of the military life? I was still in love with my high school sweetheart, even after we went our separate ways once we had graduated from HS back in 2001. And it seemed that fate had plans for us to be together even while I lived in California working and going to college to get my BA in Liberal Studies and Ryan was stationed out in Florida since he was a part of the Navy. We dated long distance, only communicating on the phone or through e-mails and on messenger. We had our ups and downs in our relationship but we wouldn’t let a thing like distance stop us from being together. We knew in our hearts that we belonged together. Before I graduated college, Ryan flew out to surprise me, my parents having been in on the plan the entire time and having tricked me into believing that we had to pick up my godparents at the airport. Apparently on one of his prior visits, he had asked my parents if he could ask for my hand in marriage, which I believe to be a romantic gesture. When I aw that we were picking up Ryan from the airport and not my godparents, I was truly excited to see him and a bit annoyed at my parents for having keeping this a secret from me. But the next day, he took me to his favorite spot in La Jolla on the beach, sat me down on a rock not too close to the crashing waves but close enough to make it beautiful, got down on one knee as he spoke of always wanting me in his life and always loving me, pulled out the box, and popped the question. I told him yes, kissed him deeply after he had placed the ring on my finger, and couldn’t be happier.
Ryan Gordon is a smart, loving man and I couldn’t wait to become Mrs. Gordon. What I didn’t know and was a bit nervous about was would I be strong enough to not only be his wife but a part of the military life? All I had ever known was my life in Poway, California and living with my parents while working at a Preschool and attending to college. I had never lived on my own, never dealt with bills or having to buy my own furniture or anything like that. Now here I was graduating from college and not only stepping out into the real world but also moving the day before my birthday in July of 2007 to be with him.
I wasn’t just moving out of my parents’ house either, I was moving across the ocean to live on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawai’i. Nervous was the understatement of the year of how I was feeling when I said my last good bye to my crying parents and stepped through the metal detectors at the airport. I took in a deep breath, wiped away my own tears, and made my way to my gate with my shoulders back and my head held high. I had made my choice and I was going to go through with it no matter how scared I was or how uncomfortable flying made me because waiting for me was a very special guy. I remember watching planes landing or taking off and growing more and more scared mixed with excitement until it was time to board. My heart began to hammer inside my chest but I walked onto the plane, took my seat, and clung to the armrest.
I was finally on my way to not only my new life but my new world, the world of moving from state to state with a smile on my face and support and love in my heart for my busy military husband. Ryan picked me up at the bustling airport and once I laid eyes on him, I couldn’t help myself. Buckets of tears spilled from my eyes and all he did was hold me close, kiss the top of my head, and told me that no matter what happens in our life together, he will always be by my side. We made our way through the unfamiliar streets of Oahu, though I had been there once before with my parents but that had been back in 2001 after I had graduated high school, and then a second time in order to visit Ryan before he popped the question, and went to our first apartment together. Ryan had already made plans to rent a house in another part of Oahu so that we would have more room but it was a nice apartment at the time. I moved my things in, unpacked since we would live there until we married in September, and I plopped down on the couch, staring around at me quite flustered since I still wasn’t sure I was ready for such a huge step at the age of 23, the next day turning 24. The biggest decision I had ever made was going to college in order to become a teacher and now I was in a new state with my future husband, jobless, and scared.
I began to send out my resume right away because not even two weeks after I moved and settled into my new life, Ryan had to go out on the ship that he was attached to for training. When he told me this, my heart felt as if it were going to stop completely and kill me right then and there. But I took in a deep breath and told myself, ‘I can do this. He will only be gone for a little over a month, more like a month and a half but you can still do this. Just concentrate on your writing and finding a job.’
For my birthday, we had gone to the humane society and we adopted our first kitten together, a sweet tortoiseshell named Sasha. She would keep me company while he was deployed and I couldn’t be any happier. I adopted another kitten later in our marriage that I named Shadow before he came home form deployment in July/August 2008 after I had emailed him and asked of course. I didn’t want to do anything without Ryan’s consent first because I wanted him to be happy and in the know as well even if he was so far away.
September 22, 2007 was such a beautiful day! Not many clouds in the stunning blue sky and the beach that we were on was so peaceful that I couldn’t believe that we were on Oahu. My parents, brother, his friend Brandon, and my godparents flew out to help us celebrate our day. Then once the festivities had finished and they had left, a few months later, right after thanksgiving actually, he was deployed again though this time it was for 7 long months. I remember him asking if I would want to go back to California but I said no, that I wanted to stay there. I had just accepted a teaching job and I wasn’t going to let my loneliness or the fear of being by myself with just Sasha, and later Shadow, get the best of me. The day I had to say good-bye to my brand new husband I could feel myself change inside more. My heart pounded in my chest again, tears welled up in my eyes, but I felt different, stronger and I knew then that I was ready to face this challenge head on.
First, I had to leave my parents and friends behind, and then I had to stay behind to work and live on an island with no friends and a few family members that I had never met before and barely knew but I was going to take on this life head on with flames in my eyes and confidence in my heart. The 7 months rolled by, not as fast as I would have liked, but he came home and we could live together happily. We moved after that, back to California and were stationed more up north since he was working in Long Beach. We lived first in Anaheim then moved down to Oceanside since he would be taking orders down in San Diego after Long Beach. Originally we were going to have to move to Illinois but those orders fell through so in California we stayed.
It’s not easy moving and finding work but I did it with the help of my wonderful husband. Then while living in California, heartache and sadness came into our lives as we decided to try to start our family. We wanted our happy two to become an even happier three. But it was very hard, and I mean heart crushing hard, as I battled to carry a baby full term. Before the military doctors stepped in to help we had to try for a year and we did, suffering with two miscarriages. I felt my strength that I had been collecting over the years slowly slipping away along with my hope of ever becoming a mother. We talked to the infertility doctor finally and I was put on shots that I had to give myself at home as well as taking Clomid in order to help me but it wasn’t working the way I had hoped. I was considered a mystery infertile as the doctors had branded it since they had no answers as to why I couldn’t carry full term. After the third attempt on the medication and IUI, I did become pregnant but it ended in another miscarriage. THREE miscarriages that I couldn’t control nor could my heart or his heart take but even through it all Ryan kept up hope.
Everyone was distraught for me and I just wanted to give up; my strength was deflating fast. But Ryan wouldn’t allow it and a couple of months after my third miscarriage; we found out that I was pregnant again. I feared for the worse since I had already lost three other babies but on December 28, 2013 we gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Kierra.
After picking new orders, we sold the condo we had bought a few years before in Oceanside, and made our trek across country to Ryan’s new duty station in Virginia Beach, Virginia. And when I said we made our trek cross country, I meant it. We drove from California to Virginia, only stopping to eat, use the restroom, sleep, and to sometimes comfort our not even 1-year-old daughter when she became upset. We rented a house in Virginia, that didn’t turn out so well so we rented a different house with a new better manager, and truthfully even with the cold weather and snow, all three of us loved it out there. Kierra was able to grow into a social butterfly thanks to her going to MyGym as well as staying in childcare whenever Ryan and I attended Military events or functions. We lived there for three years and enjoyed every minute of it, doing new things, hiking more, and having a great time as a family. We made a few friends with those who worked with Ryan and we still chat on Facebook but I definitely miss being able to see them in person. And truthfully I miss taking our daughter to Ryan’s work where she can run around and chatted with the other people working, making them smile and have a better day. Before we left for new orders, we had tried again for another baby but that ended in a fourth miscarriage, more talk with infertility, and a plan to just wait since we didn’t want to go through the treatments right before we had to move for new orders.
But then the time came for new orders to be picked and we are back in California, back close to our family and friends, and we even welcomed our second miracle rainbow baby, another daughter we named Cara. We may be sleep deprived but we are making it work and we love that our little three is now a family of four. Even Kierra is excited to have a little sister and has been such a big helper for us.
My life has been quite a roller coaster, still is with me getting back into writing my stories and pushing forward with getting published, but I wouldn’t have my life any other way because I have at my side the kindest, gentlest, most wonderfully loving man as my husband and father to my children. I may want to change a few things and had done some things differently but the one thing I would never change is getting back together with Ryan and marrying him. He is my love, my friend, and my strength and I hope that I can return that favor in being his strength whenever he needs it. Life isn’t easy and never will be easy but that challenge I face head on with my own strength that I had never known I had before I married Ryan and the strength from my husband and my family and friends.
When we are born as babies, strength for hardship isn’t included; we only come equipped with the strength to live. We have to grow up and gather that strength for the hardships to come and let it mix with the strength to live in order to make life worth living. My life is worth living because of my family and friends but even more so because of my best friend, my husband, Ryan. I love him with my whole entire being and soul and wouldn’t be where I am without him. I will continue my trek in the world of writing and getting published even though I am afraid but knowing that I have Ryan beside me, readily giving me strength, I won’t give up until I can see my published books on shelves in bookstores and for sale on Amazon. And I can’t wait to see where else life takes us as we walk hand in hand together with not just each other now but also with our two beautiful daughters.