Sometimes I don’t blog because I don’t feel like there is anything going on in my life worth telling the world about at that moment. I usually wait till a big trip or family event before I post anything. I guess tonight isn’t an exception to the rule… I finally have something new to blog about
Last weekend I went back down to Cedar City to walk in my official graduation. Rich has been doing school online along the way while he’s been in Iraq, and he is currently finishing up his last two classes for his degree. He completed his graduation papers a while back, so we weren’t positive what ever happened with it all.
When the big ceremony on Friday started, I got a program as we all marched into the arena, and before I was where the audience could see, I checked for Rich’s name on the list of graduates. Lo and behold, there it was. Richard Jay Brandt. I turned to some of my friends who were in line by me and pointed out his name. It took me by surprise, and emotions were already on edge after marching through a whole group of teachers, family and friends applauding us for our accomplishments, so naturally, there were tears immediately. Even though he was half way around the world (and still working on finishing those classes, ha ha) we got to graduate from college together! It was really neat.
Later that day, I was talking with my parents, and we all kind of thought it would be cool if I could march in place of Rich the next day to get his diploma (well, the cover at least). Some of my friends who are married had arranged in advance to march with THEIR husbands in the School of Business ceremony rather than their own (Science for me), so I figured they would let me march “with” mine too… I was told to just show up on time the next morning, get Rich’s card for him, and let the person announcing the names know what was going on.
To make a long story not quite as long (it’s still not short.. sorry), the teacher who was introducing the graduates as they walked across the stage was one who Rich had JUST finished a class from, so he knew the situation already. He took my card, and after the girl in front of me shook hands with President Benson, he announced something like, “This young lady is here marching in place of her husband who is in Iraq and completed his degree online. Richard Brandt… accounting” Immediately, there was incredibly loud applause from the audience, and my tears that started before I even stepped foot on the stage doubled as I walked to the president. He gave me a huge hug. As I moved to shake hands with the next person in line, I noticed that the entire arena was up on their feet. Wow. What an incredible feeling.
Although I was the one walking across the stage that day, I know that all of those people were standing in support of Rich and the amazing things that he has been doing. I already know how awesome he is (ha ha), but to have that many people agree with me and show their support for him all at once is overwhelming. It was a nice reminder of how wonderful he is and how I should really appreciate him and all that he has done and continues to do.
I’ll have people ask me about Rich and when they find out he is deployed they’ll sincerely express their appreciation for him and the sacrifices that we’re both making, and I’ve also been in areas where a large group of military families are present and we are all applauded as a group. Never did I imagine having an experience so personal to just the two of us though… I continued on and had a red-eyed, makeup smeared picture taken, then took my seat back with the other graduates.
After the whole ceremony was over, I went and found my mom in the audience. She still had tears in her eyes, and as people I knew came up to talk to me, they all said that they were crying right along with me through it all. Even after it was all over, a few people started tearing up just talking about it again… The best way I can think of to describe it all is spiritual. I know that may sound lame, but to feel that kind of love and support from that many people is amazing. I know I didn’t do it justice when I told Rich about it later that day, but there’s not really any way to explain it without just being there. People I had never even met were in tears because of the united support shown for one of OUR soldiers and his accomplishments. Ugh, my eyes STILL water when I think about it.. There are so many amazing men and women who serve and support our country. It's kind of a breath of fresh air in the middle of all of the political debates that seem to always be going on.
Anyway, I guess it’s just time that I let everyone who reads this know how much I love my husband. :) I’m not usually one of those girls who publicly announce that, “I have the BEST husband in the world!” and go on to tell of the great things he’s done recently that make him better than everyone else. Although that’s probably great for his self-esteem, I don’t like making others question or compare the “quality” of their own husbands because I’m publicizing every little thing that mine does that’s good. I will, however, say that I love Rich very much. He has had so much come at him in life lately and he is still coming out on top of it all. He didn’t let a deployment get in the way of finishing school, and he hasn’t let it have a negative effect on our marriage either. Not only is he defending freedom, he is taking time to care about me personally and both of our families, AND getting a degree. I think a standing ovation was very appropriate :)
Thank you to all of you who have supported us this year. It really makes it all a lot more bearable to feel love and support from those around you. If you know someone who is deployed, send a letter or put together a small care package for them. It REALLY makes a difference just knowing that your friends and family still think and care about you. Those at home may hear it a lot, but I think it's important to tell the soldiers directly as well. Rich will be home soon, which means no more cyber husband for me, ha ha…
*and you thought your last blog post was long…? *