This morning as I was walking around in the hallway outside my office area, I started thinking of how lucky I am.
About 10 months ago, Stuart and I started our long-distance year – me in Norman, him in Columbia. We never had any doubts that we could handle it, but we knew the separation would be pretty awful. Up until that point in our relationship, we had spent nearly 100% of our time together. We were inseparable. Then, because Stuart needed to go 5 years (because of AFROTC commitments) and I couldn’t justify delaying my graduation, I applied to several grad schools and eventually decided to attend the University of Oklahoma. My apartment was about 7.5 hours from his house.
The beginning of fall semester was rough. The night before classes started I had a breakdown and called my mom to tell her I was going to drop out and move back to Columbia because I already missed Stuart so much. She talked me down and told me that I had to at least try things out for a while because the situation would get easier. She was right, but I couldn’t see that at the time.
Things got easier as time went on. We saw each other every 2 or 3 weekends. One of us would leave on Friday afternoon, arrive at the other location on Friday night, spend time with each other until early afternoon on Sunday when whichever of us came to visit would have to start the drive back. The visits were short, but wonderful.
All along we’d hoped that Stuart would be able to join me here in Norman after he graduated. To do this, he would need to be approved for an educational delay from the Air Force and get offered an assistantship at OU, one of the best meteorology schools in the country. We hoped and hoped that things would work out, but we’d already started thinking about how things would go if this plan didn’t work. He’d already received his first base assignment – Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, LA. We hoped and prayed that we wouldn’t have to continue the long-distance journey once we were married by driving back and forth between Norman and Shreveport.
Stuart had never known anyone at his ROTC detachment who had even applied for an educational delay so he had no idea how difficult they were to get. No one at the detachment seemed to know.
In March Stuart received an offer from OU. We were both thrilled, but knew that we still had one more hurdle to overcome. Finally, at the end of March, Stuart got the news that he had gotten the educational delay! He would be coming to Norman to get his masters degree!
Since that point, life has been wonderful. We rented a nice little house in Norman with a big fenced backyard for Penny. Our offices at even on the same floor of the NWC. I can literally walk out of my office and be in his in about 15 seconds.
As I was walking around in the hallway this morning I started thinking of all the things that had to go right for us to be together today. The months of long-distance helped us to realize how lucky we are to not only be living in the same town, but to be in the same house, work at the same building, and even have offices on the same floor. We are so thankful that things ended up the way they did and we realize how many couples aren’t as fortunate.
At some point Stuart may have to go overseas with the Air Force, separating us again, but we’re not worried about that right now. We’re focused on what we have right now and that makes us very lucky indeed.