It’s July 1st, which means Independence Day is right around the corner! I think we all are feeling a bit patriotic this time of year, so I’ll take this opportunity to discuss something a bit patriotic, and also very close to my heart.
My boyfriend Tucker and I have been together for almost two years now. We went to rival high schools, where we both ran cross country and track. When were 16 years old, we met at Blue Ridge Running Camp. We immediately hit it off, and it didn’t take long for Tucker to ask me to be his girlfriend. And of course, I said yes. Since then, we haven’t gone more than a week without seeing each other. We have experienced some amazing memories together. Our senior year was amazing, filled with unforgettable memories. Cross country, homecoming, trips to the beach, two proms, and graduation. It was such a fun year. We both went to the University of South Carolina the next year, where we grew even closer. Being at USC was hard for me, and I went through a lot of struggles, but he was always there for me. He always made things better.
But now, things are really going to change. Tucker is currently in the process of enlisting in the United States Air Force. Sometime in the next few months, he will be off to San Antonio, Texas. The military has been Tucker’s biggest dream since he was a child. And while he loved USC, he just felt disconnected, like he wasn’t where he needed to be. He realized that he needed to pursue his lifelong dream of the military.
Tucker has talked about the military since we first started dating, and I was always pretty blunt about it. I told him I didn’t want him to join and would never support him in that decision. I was too scared of what might happen to him, too scared of how much I would miss him, too scared to let him go.
We went to USC and as time went on, I could tell that Tucker was not happy there. I knew where his heart really was. It was then I realized how selfish I was really being. I was holding him back from his dream just because I was scared… I knew that I would miss him, and I knew that I was also be worried about his safety, but I knew that joining the military would make Tucker happy. And at that point, I really just wanted him to be happy. I apologized to Tucker for not supporting him prior to this, and I gave him my approval and told him that I would stand by him in any decision he made. He did a lot of research and talked to a lot of different people, and he ultimately decided on the Air Force.
Now Tucker is very happy, and extremely excited for his future. He is attempting to join a special operations group, Air Force Pararescue. They are essentially a rescue group that operates in combat situations; they save and protect other members of the military. That includes other Special Forces groups: Navy Seals, Army Rangers, etc. It’s a very important, intense, and sometimes dangerous job. I know Tucker will be great at it.
People ask me all the time how I feel about the whole ordeal. I figured I might as well put it all out in the open now! I’m not going to kid myself, or anybody else. It has been hard, and I know it will continue to be. I am really scared about what might happen to Tucker. I am going to miss him so much, it makes my heart hurt. Sometimes, I have really selfish thoughts about it. I feel like he is picking the military over me. I don’t understand why he would choose to leave me. Sometimes, I cry. I get really upset, mad, and just sad about it. It is hard… But its totally worth it. I am absolutely overwhelmed by his courage. I admire this sacrifice that he is making for our country. I respect his hard work and determination. But mostly, I am proud! I am so incredibly proud of Tucker. Not only for his sacrifice, but for following his heart and choosing a path not many would have chosen. I am extremely proud to call this amazing brave man my boyfriend. While at times I do get sad, seeing how happy he is makes me happy, too. We are both following our dreams, me at JMU pursuing a teaching career and him in the Air Force. That’s the way it should be. And no matter where we are in the world, we will always be there for each other.
We wouldn’t live in such an amazing country if it weren’t for people like Tucker, and the other thousands of brave men and women who have made the same decision. And this Fourth of July, I will appreciate that more than ever. This next journey may be different than where we have been before, but I am excited for what the future holds. I can’t wait to see the amazing things Tucker will accomplish in the Air Force. One thing is for sure, I know he will continue to make me proud 🙂