Our story begins when Patrick and I met years and years ago, when he played on my older brother’s rec soccer team, and his family started coming to my church. My first memory of being around Pat was on a church youth group hike, I must have been around 14, to the Dungeness Spit lighthouse in Sequim, WA. It wasn’t until we were in high school, both of us in Running Start at the local community college, that we really became friends. We would get together to study for history and economics at the Port Orchard library with a friend, and he came to my high school graduation party, only a few days or weeks until he was due to move to Colorado and begin basic training at the Air Force Academy. At the time, I didn’t understand how extraordinary of an accomplishment that was, and it wasn’t until his sophomore year when he was home for Christmas break that we began to rekindle our friendship. We met for coffee, talked about the wonders of Skyrim, caught up on what had been happening in our lives, and it was then that I got the first glimpse into how difficult Academy life is. I confessed my dreams of becoming a successful, travelling photographer, or maybe a designer, or maybe this, that, or the other thing. I enjoyed every minute of it, and distinctly remember being stunned by just how much he had changed and grown up during his first few years at the Academy. He was no longer the dorky, quiet guy I thought he was – he was handsome, witty, and wore really nice jeans.
Over time, we started talking more and more, and he proved himself to be a kind and loyal friend when other relationships and friendships failed and my grandpa Ray passed away. One evening around Christmas-time, I was in the car with James after Pat had asked me to the All Service Academy ball in Seattle and I had been shopping for a dress. He asked me if I liked Patrick, to which I said, “yes,” but I talked about how a relationship would be complicated since he had a year and a half left at the Academy. “So? Why not?” he said. Even though I made some more excuses and insisted that we were just friends, I could never shake those words. Why not? Our first date was the Academy Ball, and shortly after he asked me to go snowshoeing with him. It was immediately obvious that we both enjoyed one another’s company, got along well, and had a lot in common. We clicked and things just felt right. After Christmas break was over and he went back to Colorado, our relationship began to grow in spite of the distance. We began to see each other more once I had a steady, full time job. I flew out to Colorado every couple months, and he came home for spring break, summer, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Before we knew it, we had fallen in love and the months were zipping past. Over the summer, we started talking of marriage, and he proposed to me while he was home for Christmas his senior year, almost exactly one year since we started dating.
After Patrick graduated from the Academy, he had 60 days of leave, which is when we decided to get married. We planned our wedding in six months, and June 15, 2014 we became man and wife. It’s been an adventure, to say in the least, and we have a long, uncertain, exciting journey ahead in the Air Force. Patrick graduated from Intelligence training in March of 2015, after which we moved from San Angelo, Texas, to Beale Air Force Base in northern California where he is currently stationed. It’s hard to remember what it felt like before Patrick played such a major role in my life. Today, sometimes I forget he’s his own individual person, because he feels like a part of myself. Together, we enjoy playing video games, entertaining friends for dinner and game nights, playing with our two corgis, Marty and Seamus McFly, and acquiring new hobbies that we can do together, like turkey hunting, which we hope to do this spring.