I never wanted to become a military spouse…
By Raven Ash
When I was in high school, I had big plans. I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to go to college, have fun and be free. I planned on being single until the day I would marry a successful businessman, lawyer or doctor. During my senior year, with all of these plans in mind, I decided I needed to let go of my high school sweetheart of four years.
Here we are in 2020. I am going to school to be a journalist, I have been having a fun college experience, but I cannot say I will be marrying a doctor or a lawyer. Instead, just two short years later I am marrying a soldier. Not just any soldier though, Mason, my high school sweetheart.
After I kicked him to the curb senior year, we were reunited a year later. However, our biggest challenge had yet to come. On March 11th 2019, three months after we found our way back to each other, Mason was shipped off to Army Basic Training. Since that day I have been learning the ropes of being a military spouse.
For as long as I could remember, Mason had always wanted to enlist in the Army. This was another factor that made me choose to let him go in high school. I did not want to be in a long-distance relationship or be tied down by the Army. However, while the Army has presented us with many challenges, it has also grown and strengthened our love.
I cried a lot the first few weeks after Mason left for basic training. I went from talking to him everyday to only being able to send letters. Weeks went by and things got much better for both of us. I did not find myself sobbing over him all the time and Mason started to love the Army. Separation made me realize how important it is that we are both independent. Our own independence is important for our relationship’s success.
The Army has also given us a greater sense of respect for each other. When I finally saw him at his graduation 17 weeks later, I sobbed again. This time though, they were not tears of sadness, but tears of joy and pride. I was so proud of him for becoming an infantryman. I was also proud of us both for being able to maintain the relationship while he was in training, because the reality is that many relationships fade away before the soldier graduates. I knew Mason was just as proud when I saw him crack a big cheesy smile behind his drill sergeant when he was supposed to be in the position of attention looking stern and serious like everyone else around him.
A few weeks later I went back to Georgia to Mason’s airborne graduation. I was able to watch him jump out planes in the middle of the night. This was another moment I was extremely proud of him, because I know how terrified he was of planes and heights. But, here he was voluntarily facing his fears to get his Airborne wings so he could join the 82nd Airborne Division and be America’s 9-1-1.
Throughout the process of Mason becoming a soldier, I saw him become a mature young man that I was falling for more and more everyday despite being 800 miles away for 5 months. Lucky for me, that same weekend Mason pulled a diamond ring out of his bag and asked me to be his wife. After all the challenges we had overcame, of course I said ‘yes’.
Now that he has proposed, we could finally have our happily ever after. However, the Army had other plans. Mason was notified shortly after that he would be deploying to Afghanistan. He was deployed for six long months. Those were the six most stressful months of my life. It’s hard to not worry after you have been woken up at 3 a.m. with a call saying ‘I just wanted to call and tell you I love you because there are some things going on here, but I can’t tell you what’.
Finally, he is back in the U.S and as I sit here in our new home in North Carolina quarantined because of COVID-19, I could not be more thankful that I am not marrying the businessman or lawyer because I love my soldier.
We are both excited for our wedding on July 25th 2020.