Where The Heart Is

You know how they say it takes a little while to adjust being back in your home country after you’ve been away for a significant amount of time? That is what it’s like when your heart comes home from a deployment.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so so so so so so SO (times infinity!) excited to have Robert finally home, but it’s weird as heck! My heart still doesn’t feel completely settled.

Robert has been back for just over 2 weeks now and I haven’t gone a day without seeing him yet. THIS IS FREAKING CRAZY!!!! I haven’t been able to relax, enjoy a relationship, and feel at peace in knowing that my guy will be here for an indefinite amount of time in who knows how long. It’s been years since I have had a relationship like this, and even then I didn’t feel the same way that I do about Robert.

It honestly hasn’t set in yet that I don’t need to cram a million activities into a week because we have as much time as needed to go out together now. I’m not used to the “pop in,” and it hasn’t really registered that we can do dinner in the middle of the week just like I do with my girl friends. I think it will just take a little bit of time for me to realize that this is, in fact, real life, and after 10 long months of waiting my love life is finally going to be normal again.

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This was from a random midweek coffee date!

Today will be our first time not doing some sort of activity together since Robert has been back because we are both feeling a little under the weather. In the past I’ve always been good at juggling friends, my love life, and other priorities, but I’ve also gotten so used to being in long distance relationships that it feels like I need to hurry and do everything while Robert is still around to spend time with. My heart just has to catch up with my mind a little bit more to realize that this is a fresh start to a really cool relationship.

My Thank You To Tom Brady

Dear Tom,

I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to touch base to welcome Robert home from his deployment, but I understand. I figured this was a really farfetched dream, but I also know that if you never ask for something the answer will always be “no,” so I had to try.

Before embarking on this project, I didn’t know a lot about you. Robert is a huge football fan, but I don’t keep up with sports news very much. I wanted to let you know, though, that you have a new forever fan. Through trying reach people who might be able to help, creating YouTube videos, and doing interviews with a few newspapers in Foxboro I learned a lot about you. I followed a million different New England Patriots fan pages as well as Tom Brady ones, so I read articles as they popped up on my Facebook page. I have been really impressed with your good sportsmanship and attitude, as well as your kind heart.

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One that particularly touched me was the letter that you wrote to a family who just lost their young son in a tragic event. As soon as I read it I felt so incredibly thankful that you were able to give someone with such an enormous loss a small sense of comfort. I know that having you at the airport with me would have been nice, but I think the letter means more to that family than you or I could ever even imagine, and seeing that article meant even more to me than a response to my video. I feel blessed that God gave the world someone like you who is not only incredibly talented, but also incredibly kind, humble, and generous.

I now understand why Robert likes you so much, and I am proud to call myself not only a converted New England Patriots fan, but a Tom Brady fan as well. The world needs more Brady’s, and I hope other people will see that act of kindness and follow suit.

God bless, take care, and GO PATRIOTS! I am so excited to cheer y’all on in the Super Bowl this year.

Best,
Krista

Playing The Waiting Game

TODAY’S THE DAY!!!!!!

Robert’s plane gets in at 6:08 PM, so naturally I’ll be getting to the airport at like, 5. It’s 10 right now and I really don’t know how I’m going to get through the next couple of hours. I am pretty much ready with everything except getting myself dolled up. I have the balloons, flowers, and sign, and I will have another little surprise I’ll share on here soon enough… I just don’t want it getting spoiled by writing about it too soon!

I just have to spend 8 hours and 8 minutes keeping myself occupied. Oh gosh, and the time it takes for him to get off the plane too! It’s so crazy how impatient I feel today after we’ve gone almost 10 months without seeing each other.

Okay, I can’t just sit here and write. I’m going to go occupy myself with something. Maybe I’ll take a 3 hour shower or go power walk around the mall.

 

1 DAY!!!!!

This was the header in my email to Robert today. I’ve been doing a countdown since the day he left, and we are finally down to one.

I don’t even think I can put into words how excited I am for tomorrow. I am tearing up just thinking about it. This year has been so hard. My heart has felt heavy with worry and from missing my guy. I hadn’t ever experienced some of the feelings I had this past year. My long distance relationship with Robert was unlike anything I’ve ever had with another person. On one hand I trusted him 110%. He could go for any stint of time without messaging me and I knew without a doubt he was being faithful to me and that he still thought of me every single day. I knew the entire deployment that Robert’s heart was still with me, and that he would give anything to be home with me as soon as he could. This was definitely new, as in past relationships I’ve been with people who haven’t been as invested in us as they are in a job or in traveling the world.

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On the other hand, though, I hadn’t ever felt the intense ache of wishing I could do anything and everything to make someone safe and protect them for such an extended period. The only feeling I can kind of relate this to was when I was with another significant other and he was dealing with a lot of stress from work that I wished I could take upon myself instead. With Robert, though, I just prayed as hard as I could that God would take care of him, and I knew that I wanted to take any bad things away from this deployment and take them on for myself. Clearly this is not possible, but I am always in awe of the love you feel for someone when you want to take away their pain or suffering. This is likely only a very small fraction of the way Jesus felt with us.

Anyway, I honestly cannot believe I’m going to be seeing him tomorrow. Not on Skype, not in a picture, and not online. IN PERSON. What?!?! This is so crazy. I really can’t contain my excitement; I’ve wanted to tell everyone I talked to today. I told people when I was in line at the store buying red white and blue balloons to take to the airport, I told the lady at the craft store when I got supplies to make a sign, and I announced it to any stranger who would listen. I even felt like getting pulled over due to a lack of vision in my car from the balloons wouldn’t be so bad — it would just be another opportunity to tell someone about the exciting day I had planned tomorrow (Just kidding, I’m not insane. But seriously, I don’t think many people can empathize with just how excited I am!!!!!)!

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I will close with saying  that I don’t know whether I’m going to laugh, cry, or freeze when I see Robert tomorrow. I don’t think it will feel real. I’ll do my best to tell you what it’s like getting to hold him again, but I’m pretty sure it will be indescribable.

One sleep to go.

A Wicked Good Welcome

Hey, friends!

I haven’t been great at updating this lately, but I will be offering an explanation for all of that soon enough. It’s partly been because I have been pretty sick on and off lately — with POTS and with some other goofy things going on! The other half, though, you will find out very soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a new newspaper interview I did that was shared in another newspaper, Wicked Local Foxborough. Did I share the first article yet? I will in a few days just so I have all my bases covered!

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Anyway, I’ll have a million and one things to write about soon, but in the meantime I just want to take another minute to thank everyone who has been so kind and helped in any and every way you could. I know this was such a longshot, but I am all about trying to give the very best to my loved ones. Robert certainly is a special person, and I really can’t wait to welcome him home. No matter what, I will be the luckiest girl in the entire world very soon. I can’t wait.

I Am Army Strong

I once said I didn’t feel like I belonged in this world because I’m not strong enough for it. Now I realize, though, that I was wrong. If I wasn’t strong enough to be an Army girlfriend I wouldn’t have made it through an entire deployment, relationship in tact. If I wasn’t strong enough I wouldn’t have stayed faithful every second of every day, and we wouldn’t have grown together as a couple as much as we have. It’s actually been a really amazing experience (In hindsight, of course) because we’ve gotten to know each other in a lot of different ways that we wouldn’t have without this kind of strenuous long distance.


If deployments were easy every couple would make it through them, but sadly that’s not the way it is. Plenty of people break up, and significant others leave in the middle of a deployment because it’s just too hard. Not only is the worrying hard, but it’s not easy loving someone 6,000 miles away when all you want to do is hold their hand and know that they’re safe. On the soldier’s side, it isn’t easy being so far away from home and having so many new factors thrown at you in a new environment. I’m not really sure what causes the unfaithfulness on that side, but I will have to talk to Robert and see if he might write about some of the hardships he faced being away from home to get the other perspective of a relationship like that.


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This is one of my favorite shirts. So much so that I wrote a blog post about it awhile back! I’ll post that in the next few weeks.

I didn’t for one second of this deployment question whether I wanted to be with this Robert. He’s my guy, and I’m hoping we’ll keep growing as close as we have in the time we’ve been dating!



I’m lucky too, because I know without a doubt that Robert felt the exact same way I did. If nothing else I learned an incredibly important lesson about how trust plays out in a relationship. Even though we couldn’t always talk and I didn’t have a clue as to what he was doing half the time, I trust him fully with my heart. I’ve been with people in the past who I haven’t felt like had my best interest at heart, and the anxiety worrying about what they’re doing just fifteen minutes away from where I am is not fun.


When you trust someone completely you are able to turn off the part of your brain that worries about whether or not they’re doing something that would hurt you and focus on the present in your own life instead. Rather than wasting time coming up with the hundreds of imaginary scenarios of what could be happening, your heart is at ease knowing your guy would never do something that he knows would hurt you. This doesn’t mean he’ll never mistakes or never make you feel bad, but it does mean that he cares about your well-being and puts your relationship above his own desires when necessary.


This relationship has taught me that I can be with someone who makes my heart feel at ease and I certainly don’t have to always be the one who compromises to make things work or change the way I feel about something to please my partner. Instead, I can have healthy communication with a man (Young Krista never would have believed a guy would actually know how to communicate effectively with a girl he was dating — Turns out there are so many men who really do know how to talk about something and then follow through with it!), and prioritize my relationship without having it consume my entire world.


Lastly, being strong by yourself is hard. I’ve learned that lesson through having a chronic illness. When I am able to swallow my pride and ask for the help I often need, the pain and sickness I do have to deal with become just a little bit lighter. When you have other people to be strong with you, that’s when life really becomes a beautiful journey — even if you have a lot of hurdles to jump over along the way. I wouldn’t have traded Robert for anything, and feel so blessed to have had someone so great to do this deployment with. This was still one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but we both communicate with one another so well that I can’t imagine it could have been any easier than it was, considering the circumstances.


Today’s lesson: Be with someone who lifts you up and wants to be there for you when times get tough. There are people who will hold your hand through hardships, rather than retreating and watching from afar while you do all the work. Yes, I think sometimes in life you need to take turns leaning on one another — and sometimes one person in the relationship will need more help, and that’s okay — but I also believe you should be with someone who is equally committed to the relationship as you are. That way when times do get tough, you know they are still in it for the long haul.

Left Behind

When I tell people that my boyfriend is deployed, they are often very kind about it and tell me to thank him for his service, then go on to ask about our relationship a little. Honestly, our communication has been surprisingly good under these strange circumstances and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime to do a long distance, long term deployment with. This doesn’t mean the deployment was ever easy, though.

One thing people often don’t really understand  is how much waiting you really have to do, and how much your heart can hurt from missing your person. Worrying about how they are doing never really comes to a complete stop until they’re home — and depending on the circumstances if they are still enlisted and able to be deployed there’s always a little nervous flutter in the back of your heart.

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As I’ve mentioned before, this was not part of my plan. I never in a million years thought I would date someone in the military, much less fall in love with someone who was leaving on a deployment. Before I met Robert I vowed my next relationship would be simple and that the furthest I wanted to be from a boyfriend was a short drive away. Maybe I would date someone in the city, but no more long distance for me. God must have laughed when He saw what I had planned in my own mind. He probably smiled, too, when he saw Robert send me that first OK Cupid message, and is certainly too kind to rub it in my face that I was wrong about the direction my life was going in — again.

I’m honestly really surprised I didn’t cry very much the past 10 months, as that was always what I thought long distance was supposed to look like. Now I know what a healthy and unhealthy love looks like, and realize that even when things get really hard with someone you don’t need to feel upset all the time. I definitely had my share of lonely nights and a small amount of tears shed here and there, but I would be concerned if my heart didn’t miss someone I care about very much.

One primary mode of communication is Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and FaceTime when Robert has a good enough connection and a little bit of privacy. This is a screenshot he took one day. I’d definitely consider my “ugly cry” along the lines of Kim Kardashian’s, but even my little sniffles like this could probably hold a candle to Kim’s signature look.

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Puffy faced and close to tearing up from a very real #deploymentsucks moment. Luckily Robert always did a great job making me laugh on the days that seemed harder than usual!

The reason I want to share this photo with you is not to show off how puffy or red my face gets when I’m upset (Though I do think I might outshine Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in that regard), and I certainly don’t want you to picture this the next time I talk about a tearful goodbye. The reason I think this is important to share is I am almost DONE with this incredibly tough stage of a relationship, but a lot of other people aren’t. I think the women who are left behind often get overlooked, as we are still safe and sound at home. Our hearts don’t feel really safe until the moment our soldier is home, though.

I encourage you to check in on friends who might be going through this. Not only the soldiers, but also the ones they leave behind. It is HARD being the one at home with the same schedule, but having a gaping whole in our normal social life (and I’d be willing to bet I have more support than many other women do). Hugs, coffee dates, cards, and then more hugs are more appreciated than you could ever know. Even if you have never been in this position before, I think most of us can relate to missing a loved one. Deployments just add a sense of danger to the mix, as well as long stretches of silence, and a generous dose of uncertainty.

I am fine, (That picture was from about halfway through the deployment — when it felt like forever since I saw Robert, and still forever until I would see him again and I was just having a rough night overall) but remember this message every time you meet someone who’s significant other is deployed, and give them some extra love. Soldiers give up so many comforts of a nice home, normal meals, and safety to fight for our country. We should all be so proud of them. The mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, girlfriends and boyfriends of soldiers are all sacrificing so much as well. I can think of so many other people who I’m sure also had an incredibly difficult time with Robert’s deployment, and he’s just one person on his team. When you take the entirety of the military and add their friends and family to the mix, there are thousands of people sacrificing for each and every deployed team out there. Remember to be kind to them, and know that just because someone has a wonderful person to love, it isn’t easy when they go on this long and tiring journey.

Today’s lesson: It never, ever hurts to be kind to everyone you meet. Life can be so hard sometimes, but often even a little smile can brighten someone else’s day. I know there were so many moments I missed Robert and couldn’t do anything about it, but the kindness of a stranger made my heart feel a little more at ease. As my favorite Bible verse (1 Peter 4:8) says, “Above all, love each other deeply…”

Exhausted

Guys, I’m really tired. In so many different ways.

First, I’ve been fighting something off and on for awhile now. I’m so thankful it hasn’t been anything bad, but it really is draining my energy. You know when you just feel weird, but can’t put your finger on what’s up? That’s where I am.

Second, this project I’ve been working on is so tiring! When I want something I really put my whole heart into it, and I want nothing more than to have an incredible surprise for when Robert is home. He isn’t that fond of surprises (He tried to talk me out of it when I told him I was doing a little Valentine’s Day planning and that he would need to delete his social media accounts, but I suggested it was in his best interest), but I think this one would be something he’d LOVE.

Third, having a chronic illness means I’m almost always mildly to incredibly exhausted. I can’t sleep at night and it’s physically and mentally exhausting getting through the tough POTS days.

Lastly, I’m just so darn tired of waiting. This deployment has drug on and on and on (times a million), and I’m just really ready for Robert to be home. I will have to write about the stages of going through a deployment so those who haven’t done one can better understand, but I feel like the final chapter would be titled “endless.” Like, when I found out it was just over a month until he would be back I was STOKED. I felt so excited and like it was actually real that he’d be back soon! Now that it’s been awhile, I’ve settled back into my normal routine and don’t feel the same sense of excitement. I feel like if I could knock it into my brain somehow to realize that he will, in fact, be home soon, I would be overjoyed! I just feel like it’s been such an up and down, crazy journey that it doesn’t feel very real that he’ll ever be back. I love him very much, and I love just getting to talk on the phone, but I miss being able to go out and have experiences together. I think that is an important part of a relationship, and it’s been a really long time since we’ve been able to do that.

Just a little bit longer, Krista. I’m going to keep telling myself that until I believe it. Maybe I never will until he’s actually home, but I at least have that to look forward to!

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So. Much. Hype.

Oh my goodness, I am so exhausted! Planning for someone to come home from a deployment is a heck of a lot of work. I know, I know, I’ve had over 9 months to plan, but there are a lot of reasons I didn’t start this until about a month ago.

First, I didn’t have the idea to try to make this happen until December 15th when Tom Brady posted about leaving UGGs around Massachusetts.

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As soon as I saw these posts I was like, “Oh my gosh, I HAVE to try to get him to meet Robert.” I know, I know, what are the chances of that actually happening? But I feel like I’ve had several moments in my life where I’ve been shocked that something really incredible and unbelievable has happened. Like this time I went to the Jingle Ball and got to interview a bunch of celebrities — including Flo Rida, Ke$ha, Ed Sheeran, Enriqueee Iglesias and a bunch of other people I didn’t listen to very much. My favorite moment of all was asking Flo Rida this “Would You Rather” question (I cringed watching this, but sucked it up because we’re all family here, right?):

Anyway, my strange luck with celebrities gave me the hope that even though there is a less than 1 in a million chance Tom Brady would say yes — especially during playoff season — that I might as well try. It’s been awkward posting so much about something, but I honestly think Robert is worth embarrassing myself a million times in a row if I had to. This happens to be the most perfect thing I could ever think about doing for him, and even if I gave Robert a meeting with Tom Brady I’d still feel like he deserved so much more.

Robert is one of the most kind, genuine, thoughtful, and selfless people I know, which is why I want to do everything I possibly can to give him wonderful things in life.

Another reason I hadn’t started planning this “Welcome Home” until about a month ahead of time was because these past 9 months have felt absolutely endless. Deployments are so hard on both parties, but Robert and I definitely agree that this time apart has felt very different for each of us. Time has flown by for him, as he has been so busy traveling all around the Middle East and working 7 days a week. For me, though, the time has crawled by. My days consist of working out, going to a million different doctors, and trying anything I possibly can to get better. Sometimes this means just resting a lot. This is hard enough on it’s own when you have an active mind like I do, but it’s far worse when you are really missing someone. Planning a “Welcome Home” surprise months in advance is like trying to plan the most exciting party of your life months ahead of when it’s actually happening. I think part of the reason I don’t like prepping for Christmas until after Thanksgiving is because I just can’t keep all that hype going much longer than a month!

I’m going to keep pushing forward to get some sort of New England Patriots welcome put together for when Robert is back. I’ll keep working until the day he gets back, then I’ll be able to relax and enjoy his company again. I have a few phone meetings this week, so please wish me luck! And as I’ve said in my previous posts — please watch and share this video!

Thank you so much, and I will surely keep y’all posted!

Homecoming

GUYS. In less than a month Robert will be HOME and it will be the first time in four years that I live near a boyfriend. This. Is. Mindblowing.

I feel like I’m just so used to long distance that I don’t even remember what it’s like doing the “pop in” to someone. I’m not used to being able to see a boyfriend on random weeknights or having someone around for double date nights.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at all nervous — long distance is so hard, but being in the same area and seeing each other more frequently definitely does change a relationship… But I’m a million times more excited than I am nervous.

BECAUSE ROBERT IS COMING HOME!!!!!!!!

I’ve had a lot of time to prepare, but it’s hard keeping the hype level at an all-time high. A few weeks ago when it first hit me I was stoked. I’m still excited, but it just doesn’t necessarily feel real. He’s been gone so long now that I’m just kind of used to living life here and chatting with him whenever possible in the morning hours.

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Making the video for Tom Brady was definitely a great way to pass the time, but it’s been a heck of a lot of work! I’ve been able to do a few interviews with Foxboro reporters, and spent a lot of time emailing contacts that people have given me — though none of them have worked out yet. Gosh darn it, WHY did Robert have to come home during peak football season?! Everyone is so busy and based off of some of the responses I have gotten it’s really not the best time of year to do this. I’m still hopeful, though, that something great will come of all of this.

I don’t know too much about football — I had to do quite a bit of research about Tom Brady when I decided to make this video. If I were to try to meet someone for myself I would have to choose the triple threat of Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, and Ellen DeGeneres. I understand how the entertainment world works, and I had to do quite a bit of celebrity research and interviews during my time at Seventeen magazine. I feel confident in my abilities in that realm, however, football is completely different. I don’t know how to appeal to fans in that world, and I certainly don’t know what the players are like!

My whole point in doing this and putting myself out there was to make this the best, most special welcome home I possibly could for Robert. I did feel uncomfortable making a video, and I did feel weird about posting it all over the internet. I swallowed my pride, though, and did everything I could to try to make this happen for Robert — no matter how crazy it seems.

Regardless of whatever happens, though, I get to see him in a matter of WEEKS. How absolutely crazy is this?! I’ve written so much about how hard a deployment is to get through that I don’t even know what it’s like having him home anymore. I can’t wait to update you on that.

Thank you for following along my journey, and I’m excited to share so much more with y’all. I will be writing one reminder, though, about relationships and a few things you are going to have to remember when reading my blog moving forward. That will be in my next post this week. In the meantime, happy Tuesday!