I’m so excited (…and I just can’t hide it!). The countdown for my journey to Newport and reunion with my love is in the single digits. The anticipation and excitement has been building over the past couple weeks – I can’t help but get a bit giddy when I think of seeing Benjamin. I spent some time this weekend researching restaurants in Newport and planning for the trip – it is such an encouragement to be at this point. I’ve strategized my packing so that my outfits will coordinate well with a man in white (ridiculous, I know. but I want some good pictures!). Thinking through all of these little details helps occupy the time remaining…and it helps me to feel like the end of OCS truly is near.
It will be a joyous occasion, for sure. Sadly, Ben’s parents will be unable to attend. Ben’s dad remains in the hospital and will continue to be for awhile. Peter has been improving, but he still has a very long road ahead. My parents decided to make the trek, serving as the representatives of their generation for Ben. My brother and sister-in-law plan to join us as well – contingent on when my little nephew-to-be decides to make his grand entrance into this world (my sister-in-law is due six days after Ben’s graduation…). These next couple weeks are going to be an exciting time for the Ortendahl clan.
Mixed in with the excitement is a tinge of nervousness. We’ve been apart for over 100 days now, and our reunion will occur in the midst of a rigid schedule and numerous people. I can’t help but think how quickly the time will pass. I’m committed to making the most of the time we have together – and I’m hoping we’ll be able to have some quality B&K time. We have so much to catch up on, so much to talk about – it surely won’t all happen in a few days.
I’m so proud of Ben and all he has accomplished. He sounds happy when I talk to him – I love that. He has regained confidence, strength, and a sense of purpose through this experience. It has been far from easy, but he has done it. He has survived. And it’s almost time to celebrate!
I’m thankful for those of you who are celebrating with me. My life has been made more beautiful by the people who have endured this journey with me. THANK YOU. Your hugs, notes of encouragment, presence, and words of wisdom have meant so very much to me. These past few months have been filled with joy, tears, frustration, fear, solitude, and hope. It has brought me a good number of challenges and struggles, but through it all, I feel overwhelmingly blessed. Although my part of this experience is quite different than Ben’s, I feel that I, too, have regained strength and confidence. Benjamin has been an inspiration to me. He has been an example of commitment, perseverance, selflessness and sacrifice. He has changed my life for the good. And I am so grateful for it.
The countdown continues! 7 days until my journey begins, 8 days until Benjamin.