Today is our 16th Wedding Anniversary. We have known each other more than half our life. I met my husband at a track meet in 1992. We seemed to click right away, but didn’t really start dating until before school started in August. It was kind of funny, because we started to date on August 29th, 1992. Every geek knows that August 29th is the end of the world in the Terminator movies. August 29, 1997 to be exact. I had gone to an indoor track meet to watch some of my guy friends run. I was relatively new to track and had a crush on one of the runners. My husband missed his race. We ended up talking for hours, and riding the bus home together. He gave me a ride home. We flirted off and on for a few months. He actually dated another girl.
In August, they had a massive high school fight, and broke up. He came over to my house, we watched movies, and ate pizza. We held hands nearly all night. We dated all through the academy and college. My freshman year, he got jealous of a few of my friends and we nearly broke up, but never did. He proposed in the spring of 1996, and we got married two weeks after he graduated from the Air Force Academy.
I had a full military wedding. We had the saber arch, a carriage ride from the church to the reception (it was about three miles), and a wonderful June reception, complete with a helicopter fly-by. We used to joke that my mom had planned it, but it was the Army National Guard weekend. We honeymooned in Mexico, and I moved in with him in Colorado. About three months after we were married, we were geographically separated. I returned to finish college as part of the deal with my parents, and he lived in Colorado Springs on casual status before pilot training. When I graduated from college, we moved into a two-bedroom house in Enid, OK and lived there for 18 months. The rest of the 16 years have been a blur of separation and togetherness. This is my third anniversary spent separated from him. You would think it would get easier, but it never does.
I’m going to celebrate it tonight, alone. I’m going to our favorite restaurant, I’m going to order our favorite meal, and I’m going to eat and drink and think about the last 16 years of my life. Though some of the years were not so good, for the most part, we have had a good marriage. I love my husband so much, and I wish he is here now. I actually find myself counting down the days until he is done with the Air Force. Even though we have discussed him staying in for 25 years to reap the benefits of military health care for our son (if he retires or is injured, our son loses his autism therapies), I don’t know how many more separations I can stomach, and it is days like this that are the worst days.