Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our First Year

Dan and I endured a lot during our first few months of dating. We had been together for about six weeks when Dan had to leave for Air Force training in Texas for five weeks to be a B-2 Crew Chief. It was our first taste of long distance, and we thought that would be that. He would go, he would be trained, and he would come back to Missouri. We enjoyed getting to know each other even better on the phone and the one weekend trip where we each drove half way and met in Oklahoma City to see each other half way through his time away, but we looked forward to him being back home. 

Then, about three days before Dan was due to return home from Texas, he found out that he had been admitted to the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs. I knew exactly NOTHING about the place, and I had only heard of USAFA once, when he mentioned that he had applied but also that I shouldn't worry because there was NO way he would ever get in. Little did we both know. He called me to tell me the news, and I broke down right away. Going to the Air Force Academy with a year of prep school before it meant that he would be living in Colorado Springs for FIVE YEARS. How would we be able to make our relationship work? We had only been together for about two months when he found out, so although we were already in love and happy together, we didn't know if we would last through the trials and tribulations that a long-term long distance relationship placed upon us. 

Dan returned home at the end of his training in Texas in May, and he was to report to the Air Force Academy Prep School on July 14th, 2009, a day I will never forget. We spent almost all of our time together before he left, and one of the hardest moments of my life was saying goodbye to him at the airport. We wouldn't be able to talk for at least three weeks while he was in Basic Training (his second one since he was already in the military—and he did a third when he got to the actual Academy… poor guy). We didn't know when we would be able to see each other again, but we decided to give our relationship a shot. Luckily for us, we made it through to Parents' Weekend, which is a three-day weekend in September when families may visit their cadets for the first time. I drove out all by myself (his family did not attend), and we had the best three days together! It reconfirmed that we WANTED to make our relationship work. We only saw each other a few times that year (Parents' Weekend, Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, Valentine's Weekend, Spring Break, and Dan's birthday weekend), but somehow we fought hard enough to know it was worth fighting for. 

My mom and I drove out to Colorado Springs for Dan’s Prep School graduation (about a week after my college graduation from UCM that he had to miss for a silly parade – and oh boy was I mad!). She then flew home while Dan and I showed his mom around Colorado Springs. We had previously decided it would be best for me to move to Colorado after I graduated, so we got the keys to my new apartment and then drove back to Missouri to pack up my old apartment. We did that and then drove right back to Colorado with a Penske truck full of my belongings. Since then, our lives have been slightly more normal. We see each other every weekend, but we still do not have the same opportunities as other normal (aka civilian) couples. However, we like to think that we have even more unique experiences while dealing with the military, and I wouldn’t trade a moment of hardship for anything. Our relationship is perfect for us. We both like challenges, and the Air Force sure throws some at us, as it will continue to after he commissions as an officer in a couple years. We have to fight for our love, but it’s worth the fight!

If you would like to read our dating story, CLICK HERE

If you would like to read our engagement story, CLICK HERE.

Until tomorrow,


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