Most days go by, and for me, it's a lot of the same thing. Baseball games, meetings and functions for 2nd Ranger Battalion, and trying to find the energy to clean something. Last night, while surrounded by my fellow Ranger wives saying their tearful good-byes, I realized how lucky I really have been as a military spouse.
Sometime last year I read a comment on a post about the 75th Ranger Regiment - it was along the lines of, "It's easier to get into the Regiment than it is to stay in the Regiment." This gave me pause, as I thought about Adam's then 19 years in the Regiment. On April 4 of this year, he has been within the Regiment, at all three battalions, for 20 years - 20 straight years.
If you know me, I don't like statistics, or if I see one, I like to think I'm not one. In two short months we will celebrate 20 years of marriage. Statistically, Adam and I should not have made it this long in marriage. We are both children of divorce, and in our early days when he was a private and I was working a minimum-wage job ($5.50 an hour - it was a long time ago, okay?), we would scrape together our change to go buy the Sunday paper. We ate a lot of pasta and cereal.
When I pause and think about Adam being within the same unit for now 20+ years, my heart swells with pride. Not just any unit, but the elite Infantry unit of the Army, a special operations unit. While I have been with him since before he left for basic training, and arrived at Fort Benning on his very first day at 3rd Ranger Battalion to live together as an engaged couple, I've seen him change from a timid private first class to a congenial, self-confident command sergeant major. I don't say this to brag, I say this because I realize what an accomplishment this would be for anyone, but this is about Adam.
He was among the first boots on the ground in Afghanistan on Oct. 19, 2001, when he and other Rangers jumped from a perfectly good plane onto an airfield. It was shown on CNN and I nearly lost my shit seeing it and wondering, "Is one of those men Adam?" To be honest, I don't know a lot of what he has done in his 14 deployments. I don't want to know, because the war isn't over, and he's gone back again and again. I can't imagine the things he's seen, the experiences he's had, the strength he's had to garner to keep it in when his fellow Rangers gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.
I don't know a whole lot about his job, because we choose to not make it the focus of our life or family, even though that is sometimes the toughest part of his job. When he comes home, he's Adam, he has no rank and he is himself. I told him years ago, the day you retire, we are getting a couple kegs of beer, and we are going to sit down and he's going to tell me everything he's done while being a Ranger, both stateside and overseas. That way, I don't have to worry any more.
I'm having a hard time putting into words the emotions I feel, which is rare for me when I sit down and write. Adam is everything I could have ever hoped for in a husband - affectionate, caring, compassionate, funny as hell, and so handsome I get compliments from friends who know I won't kick their ass when they tell me how attractive he is. It doesn't bother me, because the boy who I met with the Sun-In orange surfer hair parted down the middle has grown into a rugged Silver Fox. We don't have fights or if we disagree, it's rare. We've seen so many marriages fall apart, we've spent so much time not together, that when we are together, we cherish every second, and we are usually laughing. If you've ever been able to spend any time around Adam when he's not in uniform, you know just how funny he is, and even in uniform, I know he loves to keep his sense of humor going.
Adam, I appreciate you more than you'll ever know. I am not a vocal person with my feelings, as you know, but please know that every day when you are at work, whether here or overseas, I am thinking about you, about all the sacrifice you have made for our family and for our country. As most military spouses know, there will be birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays when your spouse will not be around. I can't tell you to not feel guilt over this, but I can tell you that you are always on our minds at these times. We've learned to adapt, whether we celebrate Christmas in November or January, your birthday three months later, etc. I know it pains you to have missed baseball and football games, and other parts of Addison's life. I have your back, always. I will take pictures and video and send them to you. We will Skype on Christmas morning while he opens his presents.
I may call myself a badass (or, technically, the weapon, weapon magazine, and socks that somehow have declared me a badass), but you are the true badass. You've given your heart and soul to your job and the 75th Ranger Regiment, but you also have given Addison and I a part of that heart and soul, which we grasp tightly and keep close to our own hearts. Your endless energy and motivation remind me of how much you love your job, and I love that you love it. You're good at what you do, but that's no secret.
You inspire me daily, even on my worst days. When I'm in pain and feel like giving up, you remind me I'm strong. You go grocery shopping, clean the house, and do whatever needs to be done around the house, even after leaving for work before the sun comes up and coming home when it's dark out.
I can never tell you how much I love you, because you are embedded so deep inside my heart, I know you are my true love, my everlasting love. It's been rough at times, being married to a Ranger, I won't lie. Eventually, you will leave the Regiment. I can't say I'm not ready, but I'm also not ready to leave the best unit we've been a part of for 20 years. Thank you for being THE badass. I love you, always and forever.