I love love stories. The kind of stories that are gushy and overly romantic and the ones that start with, “We met at a bar and hated each other.” The ones that endure countless struggles, and the ones that seem so easy it must have been destined to be.
Obviously, though, mine is my favorite.
High school sweethearts can seem like a thing of the past, stories our grandparents would talk about and wouldn’t last in “these days.” Well, Cody and I fall into this category. For both of us, it started with crushes early on in high school. I was head over heels for him and his swooping hair and mad soccer skills when we were on the same city league team. I went unnoticed by him at the time, and it would be later when we shared the same science class (that I don’t remember) when he’d start crushing on me. We didn’t act on these crushes, though.
Summer before senior year was when it would take off. We shared a large group of mutual friends that caused us to spend a lot of time together. Each summer I’d recruit members of this group to help with the NebraskaLand Days concerts, and it was for this reason that he and I would exchange phone numbers and really start talking.
I’ll never forget the first “hey” text message he sent me. It was that type of “hey” where you knew something good was up. We were sitting backstage on a metal gate that they keep bulls behind during shows, and one of our mutual friends was sitting between us. Was I ridiculously giddy? Absolutely, but who cares because I’d been waiting for this for a long time. I’d wait even longer before he would officially ask me to be his girlfriend and for understandable reasons. He was concerned because he knew that after we graduated it wouldn’t be long before he left to start his career with the US Navy. That meant tough odds, long-distance, and little communication.
I was persistent, though, BECAUSE I WANTED THIS! Even if we hit a sad end, I wanted to at least try and see what this could be. So, on January 26, 2010, after a game of Frisbee golf, sitting in his old single row pickup (THAT I LOVED) he finally asked me to be his girlfriend.
It’d be three months later that I thought I was going insane as I wanted to tell this senior boy that I loved him . . . WHAT?! To my great surprise, in the midst of my nerves and not being able to get the words out, he was feeling the exact same way and ended up saying those sweet three words first.
Knowing the time would come where he’d be off to boot camp, we were with each other as much as possible. During school. After School. I even went to the Sturgis Bike Rally for the first time ever with him and his parents (that’s a story in itself). But the time came where we had to separate.
Not romantically! Physically, you know the whole long-distance thing started. I left first for college and there was a month’s worth of time where we were only 225 miles apart. Boot camp would bump that up to 750, and then after that, it would be four years of at least 1500 miles apart. Communication was hard, even with advanced technology. Our schedules would be polar opposites, and we were surprisingly terrible at texting. We’d see each other as often as we could, each making the effort to travel, but travel ain’t cheap!
My most favorite visit was Christmas break 2011. Cody was stationed in New York at the time, and I saved to come and see him. He planned to take me to New York City for some of his days off, and I was stoked, as seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center had been a dream of mine since seeing it in Home Alone 2 as a kid. That wasn’t even the best part. Any guesses where this is going? Christmas Eve 2011, just after a year of the long-distance torment, Cody popped the question and I said, “YES!”
Sadly, we’d still have to go off and live apart. He’d start his Sea Duty, and I’d continue working towards my degree. On June 1, 2013, we tied the knot, but we made a deal I’d have to finish school completely before moving in with him. Then, in May of 2014, the day finally came where I hopped in the car and drove to Washington State to officially start life with my love.
Here we are in 2020, a whole decade later, with two beautiful daughters, two obnoxious doggies, and an incredible life that we have built together. It’s cliche to say but it’s true, we’re more in love now than that first awkward exchange of “I love you’s” and I couldn’t be happier.