I realize the average person/couple stops celebrating monthiversaries after high school or hitting the one year milestone (when the transition from the “cupcake phase” to the dull roar and daily routine of normalcy is typically complete), but it’s no secret that I am a bit overzealous when it comes to my relationship. Though I, too, had put the monthly celebrating to bed – until we got married. And in typical newlywed fashion, my relationship had been rekindled, my love of being in love also renewed. Not only were the month-to-month love fests an excuse to gush about Tim, but in the very beginning stage of this new military world, it assisted me in documenting the passage of time. On the weeks that every day felt like a year in itself, eventually the 19th of the month would roll around, and I was reminded that we were brought that much closer to the end.
Tim asked me to be his girlfriend on the 1st of August of 2011. It blows my mind to think that at the end of this summer, we will have spent the past 5 years of our lives together. At our age, and in an era where commitment isn’t very sought after, that is practically a lifetime (though we still have that left to go). Along the way we did spend a few weeks apart, but even then, he was the one and only keeper of my heart. While we no longer celebrate that anniversary and now have a new one, that date will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was and always will be the very beginning of our own personal love story. And will remain that way, no matter what or where this life brings us. Being the total cliché girl that I occasionally am, somewhere along the history of my iPhone (many, many, many moons ago), I’d downloaded a relationship counter app that was recording our time together down to the exact number of days. I recently rediscovered it as I was going through my phone and deleting unnecessary things to free up my storage, and opened it just for fun. Launching it brought a photo of Tim and I front and center, and across the bottom, it stated that we had been together for 4 years, ___ months, and ___ days (the exact figures I can’t remember now). Beneath that, it specified ‘In Other Words’ 56 months, or ___ weeks, or ___ days. Naturally, the 56 months is what stuck out to me the most.
56 months of growth, personal and as a couple. Of laughter until we cry, and a couple tears from when things aren’t quite so jovial. Of self-discovery as individuals and learning each other, too. 56 months of trials and successes. Of graduations, promotions, and advancement. Of facing tragedy, and coming out of those fires hand-in-hand. Of vacations and staycations, parties, road trips, and days where we rarely even left our bed at all. Of trying new things, new experiences, and new adventures. In these 56 months, we have completed high school, attempted the college route, and found stable jobs. We moved into our first apartment, and you purchased your first vehicle on your own. You enlisted in the Marine Corps, I found my passion. We’ve grown our little family by 8 paws. We got married! We took our first international trip together. You completed boot camp and I managed to keep our home life in tact without a total meltdown. And now we’re basically making this long distance thing our bitch.
I will obviously take any excuse I get to walk down our own personal memory lane (though these are only the ones that immediately came to mind), but anyone who knows me knows why the number 56 came to my attention immediately. 56 was my dad’s favorite number, and to this day, he instantly comes to mind whenever I see it. Next month, it will be 12 years that he’s been gone, and it doesn’t even feel real typing that out. With all of these major milestones that have and will undoubtedly continue to take place in my life, I can’t help but feel somewhat incomplete without his physical presence, and my mind often wonders how different these things could have been with him here. I knew as a child that with his passing, I was going to have to eventually take on these events throughout life without him, and that idea alone hurt back then. Now to have to actually live them is the most bittersweet feeling in the world. Although he isn’t with us in the physical sense these days, something always happens to show me that he isn’t all that far at all for everything I want him near for.
The night we got engaged, ‘Kryptonite’ was playing on the radio station we flipped to on our way to dinner to celebrate. The last 4 digits of my wedding dress order number were 0156. The day of our wedding had rain that completely crushed my spirit – but literally cleared right before the tears started flowing and somehow turned into the single most beautiful September day (I credit him with that one). I found my father’s old Army name tape in the same dresser drawer I went to place the woodland name tape bow I’d ordered for Tim’s graduation in. My sister and I sat in the bleacher seats 5 & 6 when attending Tim’s family day ceremony at Parris Island. Hell, my falling in love with a Tim at all probably wasn’t random, either. I carry a couple of my dad’s handwritten letters (along with some of Tim’s from boot camp that had somehow made their way in there) in my purse at all times, too, so that he’s never really too far away. And the fact that this month happened to be the 56th one we’ve spent together, paired with Tim’s been able to come home on RA for it is certainly no coincidence in my book. It seems that every time I need a pick-me-up or a sign that he still is with me every step of the way, he definitely delivers as if he was never gone at all. Despite not being able to be here for me physically, my dad still takes care of me from above and that, alone, is my biggest blessing.
I am truly the single luckiest girl in the world to have not only the first love and guardian angel that I do, but also the one I will spend my life with & who will undoubtedly be my last (who I firmly believe was a gift placed into my life from my dad, too). I have no idea how I’d do this crazy thing called life without both of my Tims.