I’ve known Rob was going to be a Naval Officer since I was 14 years old, when he first started talking about going to the Naval Academy. I prayed for years that he would change his mind, but after being accepted to both the Academy and MIT/Naval ROTC, I knew that a Naval commitment was for sure. I had crossed my fingers for MONTHS in late 2005 hoping for the MIT acceptance letter, and when it finally came I cried for hours. I was so excited to have some sence of “normalcy” while we were in college and I really think that that’s the day that I created the CIVILIAN BUBBLE in my head. The Navy seemed really far away from us. The only real commitment (on my part) was to buy a fancy dress twice a year for the ROTC Navy & Tri-Service Military balls. I’ve always known that Rob would be in the Navy, and I’ve always been afraid to be alone. I’d be lying if I said there was ever any doubt for me that we’d be together forever, so I knew that if I was going to be with him I’d have to learn how to be by myself, too.
Us, winter 2005.
Senior Dinner Dance, May 2006.
Rob, Freshman Year @ MIT.
Our first Navy Ball! Navy Birthday Ball, Oct 2006.
My picture of a perfect life with Rob started when we were Sophomores in High School, dreaming of our “Dream House”. We’d chat online for hours (literally) and talk about all of the wonderful things we’d have in our perfect home. For me, one of those things was Robert, and another was a puppy. I had grown up with the most amazing Beagle, Maxx, and I really couldn’t imagine life without a dog. My love for/need for a doggie friend only increased when Rob officially signed the ROTC papers.
I feel so blessed to have been able to enjoy four normal years of college and another year in the CIVILIAN BUBBLE as Rob worked on his Masters degree. So much together-time has certainly solidified our relationship and I am more sure than ever that we are meant to be. But, with the first BIG MOVE and the transition into Navy-wifehood I started to get nervous again. Life in the Navy means deployments. Deployments mean being alone. Along somewhere in the country, away from family, friends, and any sense of normalcy that I’m used to. Against the advice of family members & friends (who thought it was a crazy time/too much work), we started doing research on puppies. I was so excited at the prospect of having a little friend with me while Rob is deployed, and we decided as a family that this year would be the best time to get a dog. Rob would have one whole year (for sure) with the dog before he’d be on a deployment schedule, and we’d be able to learn about and train the puppy together. If we had waited any more time to get a dog, the puppy wouldn’t have even known Rob and I wouldn’t have had any help with training. The time was right.
Because of Rob’s allergy to most pets, we did a lot of research into hypoallergenic breeds. Rob remembered growing up with two friends who had Cairn Terrier’s and didn’t remember having a reaction to them when visiting their houses. I started google-ing Cairn breeders in South Carolina two weeks after our wedding (when I actually had TIME to do things like that!), but couldn’t find any within driving distance from the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston. About three weeks after moving into our new apartment in Charleston, I decided to try once more on google and BAM! a new litter of puppies had just arrived at a breeders home just two towns away. Fate? Maybe. I emailed the breeder that night and two days later we made the drive to go visit some babydogs. :)
We left the breeder’s house with huge smiles and a deposit on one of the male Cairns. We went back two weeks later to pick “our” puppy.. and decided to name him Charles River, after the Charles River in Boston. We stocked up on puppy supplies, read a TON, and picked up our little guy on August 13th.
Introducing Charles River! “Charlie”!
Life with Charlie is a joy. Seriously. He has been a lovey little guy since the first day we brought him home, and absolutely adores me & Rob. I’ve been with him all day, every day (since I’m still job searching and working remotely for BSC), so training is going very well. He has a “spot” outside, and knows that he’s supposed to go potty there. He still hasn’t mastered the art of TELLING US when he has to go out, but we’re getting there. He’s 11 weeks old now and already knows the commands “sit” and “Charlie, come!”. I’m convinced he’s a genius and/or will do anything for a COOKIE (another one of his favorite words). He’s 100% mama’s boy, and always favors my side of the couch over Rob’s, but goes NUTS when Daddy get’s home from work every day. You should see his tail wag for Rob! He has a few little quirks that make him Charlie: He gets the hiccups about 5 times a day, he’s afraid of his own shadow, loves to eat leaves when we’re on a walk (annoying!), goes crazy for his “chewies” (bones), and likes to sleep on your feet when you’re sitting down. Puppy training is certainly exhausting, but we both think it will be worth it. I’m excited to have a companion while Rob’s away, and I’m hoping that Charlie will help with our adjustment to Navy life.
Sleepin on Mama’s head!
SMILE for the camera Charlie!!
Now - 11 weeks old.
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So, although I cried while writing this, and often talk about my fear of the Navy life & self-made CIVILIAN BUBBLE, I think it’s really important to stress how proud I am of Rob. He has always wanted to serve his country, and I am proud of him every single day for making the choice to commission as a Naval Officer. Things could have been much easier for him, but he chose to give back to the country he loves and use his talents as a leader to help lead our nation at war. Who better to lead our country than someone as smart, passionate and well-rounded as Robert.
I am so, so, so proud. And, I’m crying again.
Anyway, I have some pretty amazing men in my life now. Robert, my husband and best friend. My Daddy, the man that really taught me what love is and what kind of love I deserve. Ed, my other Dad :) and the person who showed Rob how to be a good man. My Bumpa, my uncles, Rob’s Papa, Ryan, and now, Charliedog. How lucky am I?