This post is sponsored by Homes.com

There are so many reasons February is my favorite month.  O February how I love thee.  Let me count the ways.

1.  It’s not January.

2.  A lot of amazing people were born in February.  Like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and William Henry Harrison and me.

3.  Every now and then an extra day shows up.

4.  February is in love with love.

Just like me.

Today to celebrate love and extra days and February, one of my favorite brands on the planet, Homes.com asked me to share a story.  They recently conducted a survey of 5000 people to find out if they moved for love and if they did?  How did it end?  Did it end well with a happily-ever-after and walking off into the sunset?  Or did it all far apart in the end?  I was a little surprised at the results.  You can see them here.

I moved for love.

I moved across states and rivers and valleys and mountains and deserts for love.  I moved away from family and friends and all I knew.  I moved to a land far away that I only read about in books.

They call it California.

And this?

This is my story.

We left the day after we got married.  It was a cold December day and we drove across a country with our clothes and our wedding china and a tub of Christmas decorations.

The two of us.

Against the world.

I still remember the day my husband told me he was going to be stationed in California.  CALIFORNIA?  The land of movie stars and palm trees and oceans and a lack of sweet tea.  It was so far away from my mother.  There was a mountain range between myself and my family and long distance was .57 a minute.  I squared my shoulders and braced my heart and put a smile on my face and awkwardly and with tears in my eyes told my husband I was excited.

This was a new adventure.

This was the start of our new life.

We’d go to events and make new friends and learn new things and I’d plan out military outfits with giant shoulder pads and brass buttons and door knocker earrings to wear to parties on base.  Everything was going to be amazing.  Everything was going to be incredible.  Everything was going to work out great.

Except.

Except I forgot one thing.

Being in the military isn’t about parties and making friends and learning new things and wearing an outfit that would have made General Patton proud.

Being in the military is about serving your country.

And leaving your family.

And traveling across an ocean to fight the fight to keep us safe here at home.

And so it was that nine months after we moved to California, I stood in my military outfit with brass buttons and shoulder pads wearing bright red lipstick as my Lee Press-On Nails desperately clutched a chain link fence with tears streaming down my face…..

….and watching with fearful eyes as my new husband sailed away over the horizon.

Silently, I sobbed and cried as the ship got smaller and smaller, frantically running down the fence with eyes blinded by tears to try to catch one more glimpse before the ship turned the corner and headed out of the harbor.  Hundreds and hundreds of sailors lined the decks of the ship that day,standing at attention with their crisp white uniforms gleaming in the sun and their heads held high as they left to fight the unknown.

Not one of those sailors knew what the future held with the Persian Gulf War.

Not one of those sailors knew what the fighting would bring.

Not one of those sailors knew if they would even return home.

And still? They sailed on.

Days and weeks went by.  Silently the country watched as the conflict escalated.

And then?

One day I arrived at work at a local newspaper to see terrifying night-time pictures flashing across the national news with bomb after bomb and explosion after explosion a half a world away.  I walked into the office and saw the grainy footage on television of nighttime over in the Persian Gulf.  When I saw those explosions, I didn’t move.  I didn’t think.  I didn’t say a word.  I stood silently as my world crumbled around me.

I was here and he was there and the sheer helplessness of the situation overwhelmed me.

I wanted to talk to him.  I wanted him to reassure me that he was alright and that he was coming home and that he was going to sail back into the harbor on a sunny day wearing his dress whites on the deck of that ship….

….and that all was right with the world.

But it wasn’t.

And I felt my heart crack in two.

Suddenly, I heard my name over the loud-speaker.  They said they needed me in the office.  And to hurry.  And that I needed to go at once.  And that I had a call from an officer.

A call?

Really?

From an officer?

I didn’t want a call.

Not even a little.

All the calls I had ever seen in the movies from officers during a war never ended well.

I entered the office and took the phone and I think I said hello—the smallest, tiniest hello I have ever said in my life in a voice that sounded like a cross between a squeak and a whisper.

“Mrs. Wood….this is a ship to shore call.  We have your husband on the line.  Please be aware that all conversations on this call will be repeated several times to transfer information to the ship.  Please begin when you are ready,” boomed back at me over the line.

I didn’t understand.

A ship to shore call?

What? I didn’t know what to say.  So I simply said, “Hello again.”

And then I heard it from across the miles of land and ocean.  It was the hello repeated from military personnel to military personnel over and over and over again.

“Hello again.”  “Hello again.”  “Hello again.” “Hello again.”

Until it reached my husband half a world away.

And then the message came back from that sailor on a distant shore.”Hi cutie…..I’m fine.” ”Hi cutie…..I’m fine.” ”Hi cutie…..I’m fine.” ”Hi cutie…..I’m fine.”

He was fine?

He was okay?

He was safe?

I screamed and giggled and spun around and the heavens parted and I heard the hallelujah chorus.  And then? I shouted into the phone with all of the joy and exuberance and adoration I could muster I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.”

Except I forgot.

The “I love you” didn’t end there.

It wasn’t just between us.

There were five people listening on the call.

*sigh*

And so it ended up sounding a little like this. ”I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.”I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.” ”I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.””I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.”

Those veteran military personnel smiled as they said it.  And truth?  Each of them passed the message along with all the joy that my “I love you” was intended to convey.

And in the end…..

…..I didn’t care if the world was listening.

Because that sailor with the twinkling eyes didn’t miss a word.

And he knew that I adored him.

And would be waiting for the day he returned.

And winging its way from across the miles of oceans, from that ship through that phone line with the static and the beeps and the blips via half a dozen scratchy voices….

.….he sent me the sweetest “I love you” I ever heard.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

PS  Have you ever moved for love?  I’d love to hear your story, too.

disclosure:  This post was written in collaboration with Homes.com.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page here.

Comments

  1. Image for Diane Diane

    You are the best storyteller ever! So glad you have had many Valentine’s Day with your hubby. Make this one special

  2. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I moved for love in a different way. I moved in with my parents to care for them. No deeper love than a parent has for a child or vice versa. Best move I’ve ever made.

  3. Image for Julia G Julia G

    Tears every time I read this story! Thank you and your Sailor for serving our country! Thank you for sharing your story with us! ♥️

  4. Image for JOY JOY

    Where are the onions?!? Who's chopping onions in here??? What a wonderful story!!! I can just see you screaming and giggling and spinning with that phone call!

  5. Image for Heather Heather

    That is such a sweet story, thank you so much for sharing and thank you to your husband for his service. :0)

  6. Image for Peg Peg

    How frightening it must have been to not know if he was OK! You must have been ecstatic to hear his voice!! Best ship-to-shore "I love you" story ever!!! xoxo

  7. Image for Mary S Mary S

    And WE the PEOPLE ow him (and you) a GIANT debt of GRATITUDE for what they did and continue to do for US! We also can shout out to them WE LOOOVVVVEEE YOOOUUUU too!! Thanks again for such a heartfelt Love story - the way only YOU can tell it.

  8. Image for Mary Mary

    I loved your story. We were a military family, too. We moved all over the world. My kids were born in Indiana. One graduated from high school in California, the other in Ohio. You tell your story so much better than I ever could, but I know exactly how you felt.

  9. Image for Brenda Brenda

    I too, watched my husband of six months head for the Persian Gulf War. What memories this story brings back! Thank you for the story! And Thank you for serving our country, because you may not have signed up, but you surely did sacrifice for our country!

  10. Image for Sheila Sheila

    ...so you once worked for a newspaper? I knew your writing was amazing! What a truly sweet story! Wishing you and your love the best Valentine's Day ever!

  11. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Goodness.....needing tissues for this wonderful story of love and sacrifice 💗. Please tell your husband thank you for his service and you as well. The military families deserve so much love and support. February is my favorite too!!! 💕🥰❤️

  12. Image for Jenn Jenn

    Sweetest story! Yes I moved from the middle of America to the East coast to start life with my husband. It was scary and exciting. He traveled all the time, so it was also lonely. Thankfully, when we started having children he took a job transfer to the Midwest and we were near family. I wouldn't trade that first year together for anything though, it was good to start out with just the two of us!

  13. Image for Sherry Sherry

    I love your stories and I think I love this one best of all. Have a wonderful Valentines with your soul mate with the twinkling eyes.

  14. Image for Patrice Patrice

    Your story has left me feeling very emotional. A wonderful story, and God bless your husband for his service to us and our country. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Image for Jackie Jackie

    This might be the best blog post I have ever read...I very rarely comment but this is so heartfelt and beautifully written. Tears are streaming down my face at work never good please lord don't let this turn into an ugly cry:) Thank you, your husband and family for your service. I can't speak for everyone but I so appreciate the sacrifices Military families make. Thanks for sharing such a touching story.

  16. Image for Bobbie Rorie Bobbie Rorie

    I was a military wife for 27 years. We met and married during the Gulf war. I moved for love 8 times during his military career. It was hard but I would do it again. He retired a year ago after 29 years of service. Both of our sons are currently serving in the US Army, just like dad.

  17. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Be still my heart!!! What a precious story! I was so intensely involved in your story as I sat on the edge of my seat - I was there with you in that story - waiting to see if he was OK,,,. then a deep sigh of relief to see that your story had a happy ending! Girl, you have such a way with words ... and decorating! I LOVE following you! Thank you for that brief mental escape as I read your story! Now back to work....

  18. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Nothing like starting the day with happy tears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have moved so many times...some for love, some for work, some for higher education, and some just because I wanted to. I love to change things, including homes. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful part of your story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Image for Pam Pam

    That was such a beautiful story it brought tears to my eyes. You forgot to add .......and they lived happily ever after! You are such a wonderful writer!!

  20. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Beautiful story, beautifully written. A+ as always. My husband served in Vietnam as a Marine. I saved every letter he wrote. Unknown to me was the fact that he too saved all my letters. Fifty year old letters saved and cherished. Time to reread💗

  21. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    And the rest, as they say, is history. And just look what has happened since that handsome sailor came home! This was a sweet way to begin my day, Thank you for sharing. (Love your heart stones.)

  22. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    What a beautiful story!! Every time I've moved, it's been for love! When I was a junior in HS, I moved with my family to another state, leaving behind generations of KY relatives and a boyfriend, who stuck with me, even across state lines. When we married, I moved back to KY and my family moved to Wyoming. It was hard. When hubby couldn't find a teaching job, we moved three counties over, but by the time he had driven it for a year, I was ready to move - because I loved him!! I think if we have to move, it's always going to be for love! Love YOU, girlfriend!

  23. Image for Suzy Suzy

    I also married a sailor on this day in 1975. We packed up and left Irving, Texas, two days later. Everything we owned was in the back seat & trunk of a 1968 Buick. He had joined the US Navy in 1973 and went to boot camp in Orlando, Florida that September. We first went to Bainbridge Maryland for six months, then to Windsor, Connecticut for six months, then we went to Charleston, South Carolina. During the almost ten years in Charleston, we went to San Diego for a 6-month school and had our first child there. I was seven months pregnant when we drove from Charleston to San Diego (with a stop in Irving to visit relatives). Back in Charleston, we had two more children. He left the navy in 1986 and we moved to Lynchburg, Virginia, for our first civilian job. In 1988, we left Virginia - and the snow - and moved home to Irving. After a couple of months, he got a good job in Denton & we moved to Sanger. Next weekend, we will have been here for 30 years!!!

  24. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Thank you for your sacrifice and service. You reiterated that when one family member is in the military, the whole family serves and sacrifices. Please tell your husband thank you, too.

  25. Image for Sheran Steading Sheran Steading

    Love this sweet post. I’ve been there with the helplessness as my husband boarded a plane bound for Saigon many years ago. We didn’t have cell phones or internet. But we had love. Lots of it.

  26. Image for Gail Ogden Gail Ogden

    My story began when I was 19 years old, with a baby just 8 months old and we were leaving with my husband from our hometown in New Hampshire for my husband’s first real Coast Guard duty station in Washington state. All was well, We hugged and kissed our parents and hopped in the car for a new exciting adventure. We were brave, we were happy and I did not shed a tear…..until we approached the first overpass over the interstate. There were all 4 of our parents waving from the bridge above. Oceans of tears through 3 more states. It was time to grow up. They are all gone now. I will never forget that day.

  27. Image for Genny Turner Genny Turner

    I loved this story. I had tears running down my checks and my little puppy licked them off as they fell.

  28. Image for Yvette Yvette

    I LOVE your story!! 🥰 I, too, moved for love from Florida to Kentucky... And my love story is still going. ♥️ Happy Valentine’s Day!! 💕

  29. Image for Debrah Debrah

    Yes Karianne, I have moved for love. My hubby and I had been married 40 years with 3 wonderful children , 1 son-in-law and 1 daughter-in-law and 4 amazing grandchildren. We had lived in Southwest Missouri for 14 years and I never thought we would leave that beautiful area and the children and the grand children and the additions of in-law. We were pastoring a small Community Church and had been there for over 10 years. I thought we would be there until we retired or died. We received a Call to a "yoked" Parish (2 small churches who shared a pastor) to come to a teeny, tiny town in Western Massachusetts and our 3 wonderful children, 4 grandchildren and the additions of in-laws would all be staying in Missouri. This was the first time we had moved without our children. I dreaded each day as the date on the calendar crept toward the date of departure. We said good bye and I drove our Minivan full to the brim with my Vintage China ,our little dachshund named Patch and my husband drove the big rental truck. I cried for the first 2 hours and really wanted to turn around but I knew this was a wonderful transition for my sweetheart and I and that we had done all we could to raise our 3 wonderful children to be good adults who would make a difference in this world with the help of our God. We arrived after 3 days of driving and were met by both congregations who helped us unload the minivan and the big rental Moving truck. They all wrapped their arms around us and helped us make that transition as our children did the same back in Missouri. Moving for love was a wonderful thing with lots of surprises and phone calls and visits to the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts. My husband and I, with the help of our God, found a new home with family we just hadn't met yet!

  30. Image for LINDA LINDA

    Sweet story! Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it. And thank you for serving our country. YES, military families serve their country, too. Bless you all.

  31. Image for Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces

    Oh such a sweet story, KariAnne. My dad was in the military for 21 years with two year-long deployments, one to Vietnam. I missed him so,, that I can't imagine what it was like for my mother with four children to be apart from him. Your story touched my heart...xo

  32. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Oh, my, KariAnne. This one gets the prize ... “Best Story Ever.” To you both ~ and to all the past, present, and future military families ~ thank you for your many selfless sacrifices for our nation’s freedom.

  33. Image for Tanja Tanja

    By reading your vidid love story I've lots of pictures in my head. It really could be a story of a film drama.

  34. Image for Leila Jane Leila Jane

    Thank you for your story, KariAnne. It reminds me of mine. Mine was longer ago. It was the Vietnam era. We were a young, newly-married couple with a sweet new baby boy. My Army officer husband flew off from our local airport after kissing his baby and his wife goodbye. We only had one phone call during that whole year and your story brought me right back to that time emotionally. Fortunately, my husband returned safely also and our military life went on in a more normal fashion. We stayed in the military life for 24 years. That little baby boy eventually graduated from an American high school in Vicenza, Italy where we were stationed. There were lots of other wonderful opportunities along the way as well. Thanks again for your story and for reminding me to be thankful this Valentine's Day for a military life that was both challenging and rewarding. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your Sweetheart, too!

  35. Image for Shelia P. Shelia P.

    Hi Karianne, what a beautiful love story. Thank you both for your service. I’m so happy your story ended well! I too was a military wife married to a lifer. I made many moves for love, even clear across the world. Unfortunately my story didn’t end well. My husband did not cope well once he retired. He needed that structure in his life. He ended up being a victim of the opioid crisis and died way too young. He was a great soldier though and dedicated his life to military service for his country. That’s how I’ll always remember him. He is sorely missed. Thank you for sharing your beautiful love story. It always makes me happy when it ends well for our soldiers and their families. ❤️

  36. Image for Lin Lin

    You made me cry once more!! You have such a way with words and such beautiful heartwarming stories!! Happy Valentine's Day (early) to you and your husband.

  37. Image for PJ PJ

    KariAnne, I just love this story. I like to imagine all the people who shared and sent on your "I love you." I, too, moved for love, but I was much older than you. At the age of 50, I married in the morning in Connecticut and moved to Southern California in the afternoon after a long distance romance with a man I knew since I was 10 years old. Those first six months were tough. I missed my family, friends, and job. I used Yahoo maps to find my way to Target and other places since it was before I had GPS. After a time, I found a great job and new friends in the Golden State. Now we are retired and living on the East Coast again. All is well and, yes, I would do it all again. Wishing you a Valentine's Day filled with love...

  38. Image for Peggy Peggy

    My 28 year marriage was coming to an end and I was contemplating what to do with my new life. We were living in AZ, and my adult children had moved out there from Ohio to be close to us. Oh, the irony. All of a sudden, I got a call that my mother’s lymphoma had taken a drastic, critical turn for the worse. I flew back to Dallas to be with her, and in four days she was gone. Gone! During my time in Texas a childhood friend had heard that my Mom had died and he came by to pay his respects. We talked for hours. He had divorced in the last couple of years, He helped me with some of the financial and logistical aspects of closing up her property and he would just listen. We would go out to dinner and relive shared childhood memories. Six weeks later, it was time to return to AZ. I didn’t want to go. He didn’t want me to go! One month later, divorce papers filed, I made the decision to move back to Texas for Love. That was twenty years ago, and I moved for love. He recently moved for love, too. To be closer to kids and grandkids, we moved to AZ. ....AND HE DID THAT FOR ME.

  39. Image for Ellicia Ellicia

    I love this story Karianne. I just noticed something. You said you were working at a newspaper when you received the call. Was that where you started to hone your remarkable writing skills?

  40. Image for Nita Nita

    I was a young, immature girl who had never been away from home and was very sheltered. I married and moved with my husband who had been drafted immediately after our marriage, to New Jersey! And in the winter, too! lol Then he went to Vietnam, I moved home and after his return from Vietnam we moved to Fort Huachuca AZ. Living so far away from family for both of us matured us both. We eventually came back east after he got out. We've been married 53 years and have two sons, dil's and 9 grandchildren!! Your story was a sweet story that brought back memories. Love your writings...

  41. Image for Pamela Griner Pamela Griner

    My 3 cousins and I were born just days apart. To celebrate our 50th birthday we booked a cruise to Key West and the Bahamas. When we sat down for dinner the first night there were two nice brothers from Georgia at our table. We chatted but did not see them again until the next night...formal night. The shorter handsome brother showed up in his Army Lt. Col. mess uniform...gorgeous blue satin lapels, lots of gold braid, fancy buttons, and impressive medals. When I spotted him coming down the hall I called him "Button Boy." Lol He was very attentive and flirty...but he was so down to earth, obviously intelligent, and pretty darn cute. By the time the ship docked we were a "thing." Five months later I moved from NC to Georgia and three months after that we were married. I never exoected to marry again and I feel quite blessed! And, eventually the Army moved us back to NC (Ft. Bragg). Ahhh...that uniform! We cruise a lot and he always wears it on formal night. Stll makes my heart fill with pride.

  42. Image for Pamela Griner Pamela Griner

    My 3 cousins and I were born just days apart. To celebrate our 50th birthday we booked a cruise to Key West and the Bahamas. When we sat down for dinner the first night there were two nice brothers from Georgia at our table. We chatted but did not see them again until the next night...formal night. The shorter handsome brother showed up in his Army Lt. Col. mess uniform...gorgeous blue satin lapels, lots of gold braid, fancy buttons, and impressive medals. When I spotted him coming down the hall I called him "Button Boy." Lol He was very attentive and flirty...but he was so down to earth, obviously intelligent, and pretty darn cute. By the time the ship docked we were a "thing." Five months later I moved from NC to Georgia and three months after that we were married. I never expected to marry again and I feel quite blessed! And, eventually the Army moved us back to NC (Ft. Bragg). Ahhh...that uniform! We cruise a lot and he always wears it on formal night. Stll makes my heart fill with pride.

  43. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    KariAnne, I just love your love story and it just becomes sweeter each time you tell it! Have a real nice Valentine's Day with that precious hubby! May God continue to bless you with lots of happiness! You are such a special gal and loved by all who know you!

  44. Image for kathy kathy

    Sweet! I thought this story was going to be about moving back to Texas because I have the feeling you did that for love as well. This was another of your stories to make me cry. Yes, I moved for love when I married my college boyfriend. I missed my family so much I scheduled crying time each day. I don't remember the cost of long distance then but I ran up some phone bills. My parents are now in their upper 80s and I am so thankful that I can talk to them daily and visit often. Moving for love is tough!

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