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Building Our Relationship through Second & Third Shift

If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I’m engaged to my high school sweetheart, Roman. But what you might NOT know about us, is that for the past year, he has worked the “graveyard shift” at Newport News Shipbuilding. That means that he leaves our house for work at 9:30pm, and gets home at 8:15 am. And before that, he worked possibly the worst shift in the world, second shift, which meant he left for work at 2:00pm and returned home around 1am.

The mass of our relationship has been formed throughout this insane schedule, and although it has not been easy, it’s very doable. We’ve learned over the years that it does require some major discipline on both of our parts to make the best of it though, and although we haven’t mastered it, I’m so proud of us for staying so solid over the years. I really wanted to blog about this to help someone who might be in the same situation with their boyfriend/girlfriend, because even though it’s SO hard, it has built such a strong foundation for our marriage and I don’t regret us having to go through it in the slightest. I think about the early years of us and I just…. feel so…. full. As in my heart. Not my stomach. Although we’re always eating. #aaaanyhow

So I’ll start with a run through of the beginning of our relationship!!! *AWWWW*

We started dating in 2014 when Roman was a Senior and I was a Junior in high school. We met at the movie theater where we worked together. He had a girlfriend and I was pretty uninterested, honestly, as he just loves to rub in my face. But we were close like Jim & Pam and it was probably more obvious to everyone around us that I was falling for him than it was for me. But that’s for a completely different blog post. If you want a series on all the sick deets of our relationship, let me know!!! I’d love to take a walk down memory lane :’)

So anyways, he asked me to military ball (twice… again, that’s for another time) and we went together, and that’s the night I’d consider myself totally screwed. As in darn it, I’ve fallen in love and I can’t get up!!!

Us before military ball! We weren’t dating, but my friend made us pose like that and I was SO uncomfortable!

Fast forward to my senior year. Roman’s graduated and the two of us were inseparable. It was disgusting, honestly. I would RUN down the hallways after my last class, B lining it STRAIGHT for my 1996 Toyota Tacoma, avoiding conversation with absolutely anyone so I could go straight to his house. Every. Single. Day. I don’t think there was a day I didn’t see him. We were the kind of teen couple that I hate. Sorry mom.

About halfway through my senior year he got his job at the shipyard, which was when he started leaving for work at 1:30pm and not coming home until 1am…. This was QUITE the adjustment for a moody, 18 year old high school senior. But really, it’s quite the adjustment for anyone… when I’m going to bed, he’s getting off work. When I wake up for school, he’s asleep. When I get home from school, he’s at work. Which meant that, for him, not only could he not see me, but he couldn’t have any friends, any dinners with family, run any errands… nothing. So if someone that you know is on this shift…. PRAY for them. It is so hard on the mind, the body, AND a growing relationship. Everyone at work told him that relationships never last when you’re on second shift, but we refused to believe it.

Eventually we moved into our first apartment together (shout out to Chelsea at Lee Hall woot woot!!!!), and here are a few things that made our backwards schedule so much better. I understand that this won’t work for everybody, but this is what worked for us!

Our date nights looked like iHop at 1am on Friday’s when he got off from the shipyard and I got off from closing the movie theater. (The job I kept through college that sort of kept us on the same schedule). It seems so cheesy, but it’s something I miss all the time. Something about an empty iHop and the same tired eyed waitress, people watching the drunks, and devouring pancakes that is just kind of romantic.

Pokémon GO was a thing. (Is that still a thing?) And going to Yorktown Beach at 2am on a Tuesday to catch Pokémon was seriously lit. I’m talking HUNDREDS of people were there. Which was great for him, because he was so used to everything being dead and asleep when he got off. I think it was refreshing to be around people at that time. Looking back it’s kind of creepy how an app had people of all ages and interests running around town like zombies staring at their phone in the MIDDLE of the night. Pretty wild.

Errands became bonding time. Grocery shopping was very much a DATE. Make of it what you can. We were just happy to spend time together, whether it was going to Walmart or getting our hair cut. Car rides are for deep conversations, blasting music, and open windows. Sure we were going to the gas station, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate life! Speaking of gas stations…

Gas station food. Late night cravings. Eating is romantic. Ok? I just remember him getting home from work and I’d already be in pajamas, and he’d say the words that would speak right to my heart, “Want to get Dodge’s fried chicken?” BAAAAAABE YESSSSS

And lastly, because we’re angsty teens just tryna be little adults for the first time ever, it was totally normal for us to stay up extra late to see a private movie. Cuz I could do that. I could invite all of my other angsty teen friends to the theater to see a movie at 2am since I had keys and could start any movie that was playing I wanted! Or even a day before preview of a new movie! Blankets, candy, and being as obnoxious as we wanted. (If Allen is reading this, I always asked you I promise!! I’m a good kid!) Also I have to thank our boss Allen for hiring us as lil kids so we could meet and be together forever. We owe it all to you!

Eventually life happened and that era of our life changed completely. He bought a house, he proposed, I began working as a dental assistant, we had family living with us, we raised puppies, friends moved away, made new friends, I quit dental assisting, I went full time as a photographer, SO many changes and mistakes in the last 5 years that have shaped the way we do life now as 20 something’s.

I know a lot of these things might not be in the realm of possibility for you if you’re in this season of life with your partner, but my point is to get creative. You don’t realize how much quality time you’ve lost until it’s gone, and that’s when you start to never take a trip to the gas station for granted.

Next week I’ll discuss how these things changed as we grew older and wiser, and he switched to the night shift last year so we had to start aaaaall over!

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I’M JAMIE

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I’m a wedding, elopement, and portrait photographer serving Richmond, Virginia and beyond. With my interest in photography beginning way back in middle school, I’ve found my passion in people- documenting people’s important seasons of life in a way that feels like a fond memory.

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