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“Despite the distance, love will always fill up the space between.”
Meet Nicole. She and her Marine have a non-conventional start, and they owe it all to her brother. While he was stationed in Okinawa, he gave his friend his sister’s MySpace account information so that she could keep him some company. After months of messaging, it was time for Jon to return to the states. He asked her to meet him in Hawaii (she was living in New York at the time), and she did it! They were inseparable after that—married less than a year later.
Nicole and Jon are my heroes…they have done DITY moves for all four of their PCSs, all of which were cross country! DITY moves are the military’s way of shortening “do it yourself,” Packing up, transporting, and unpacking every.single.thing they own with no help from the military. In their first cross-country move, they made it entirely across the country, and just 20 miles from their new home in Virginia Beach he wrecked the moving truck, losing 95% of their household goods. Thankfully he was totally fine, but Nicole was faced with refurnishing their home in just three weeks before he left for a seven-month deployment to Iraq! She says they can laugh about it all now, but at the time, it was trying.
They moved back to 29 Palms (which she swears they enjoyed the second time around), then to Miramar, before returning to the east coast and joining us here at Camp Lejeune. Throughout their moves, they have had three beautiful children, Jonathan (9), Max (7), and Ella (5). They have lived in so many different homes in different places, that they have started a collection of ideas and pictures of what they picture their “forever home” to look like. Currently, she reports that it would be uninhabitable with all of their requirements. However, despite all of those, they have all decided they want a small house with big land.
Jonathan, her oldest, got lost in the shuffle a little while moving from school to school. His teacher thinks he may have dyslexia and they are now trying to get him diagnosed. Enter EFMP. This is a program offered to all military families with children with special needs. They are currently going through the process to acquire an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) that will follow him throughout his schooling in order to maximize his success and tailor his education to his learning needs. While it has been a difficult process to navigate, Nicole has been very thankful to have EFMP advocates by her side throughout this process.
All three of her littles are involved in extracurricular activities, so her days are filled with practices, homework, and keeping her family running while her husband is away. Nicole stated that “service members and their families need to maintain an exorbitant amount of resiliency in order to be successful in this lifestyle,” and she shows that every day while keeping her household running during the early mornings, late nights, and months of deployment and training when her husband isn’t able to be at home.
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