Saturday, October 1, 2011

TEXAS - Part 5 - Ryan's Graduation/ San Antonio

Friday morning, the morning of Ryan's long awaited graduation from basic military training, started very, very, early.

Just like the previous day, at the Airman's Run and Coin Ceremony we needed to catch the bus.

So we waited at the bus stop. We sat on a cold metal bench, watching the all the cars drive by, waiting for the time to be 6 minutes past the hour.

The bus was right on schedule.

Same sweet old man driver from the day before. We sat in the same seat, drove the same route, it was like our morning was on stuck on repeat. But it's okay, because we like this song. It means we get to see Ryan again today.

Once we arrived at the convention center, we went through the same glass doors we exited from the previous day to grab a spot for the Airman's Run. Except this time, we waited for them to announce the buses had arrived - to take everyone over to where the graduation would be taking place.

Some waited in the field at picnic tables, some waited near the street. I knew that the lines to get on the buses actually formed across the street, so that's where I needed to be. Once they made the announcement, a rush of people darted for the field across the street. Where a new line was forming quickly for each bus.
(If you have a choice get in the first line. It gets to leave first each time.)
 Once at the parade grounds, you walk towards bleachers. Some girls wore short dresses and stilettos =/ not the best idea when the paths you need to take involve grass and dirt holes. Glad I didn't even try and attempt that one!

Once you get closer, there is a sign showing where each group will be standing. None of the bleachers have numbers on them, so you just need to count them I guess.

I decided not to sit right in front of where Ryan's group would be, because I found a friend of mine (Alyx, the wife of an Airman in Ryan's group). She was sitting a bit to left of where they would be, but I knew he would walk past us, so it really didn't matter where we were sitting.
It was hot. It was hot. It was hot.
Holy cow, it was hot.

It felt like they put us all in a BBQ, in the Arizona desert, in the middle of summer. We were just sitting there cooking. They might as well have thrown some bread crumbs on us. No mist machines. The bleachers provided absolutely no shade. There are kids, babies, newborns even... How about some sun protection people?!
Thank goodness I brought an umbrella. I honestly would have had to get up and stand underneath the bleachers if I hadn't had that to block the sun from my little guy.
Not to mention, Ryan's family wasn't able to find me before graduation started. So I had zero help with all of our bags, the camera, our waters etc. All Noah wanted to do was lay on my lap and take a nap. (Space was limited, and I was in a dress.) Plus, the bleachers were the kind, where stuff can easily fall through the cracks.

This was one of those moments as a parent where you know everything is falling apart, but you pray some how you will make it through.
Because Noah was sleeping on my lap, everyone around me assumed he was just so hot that he probably had heat stroke or something. They kept asking if I wanted to borrow their umbrellas or their fans. Honestly, I think he was just really tired. He's not a morning person, (neither am I). He was over this early morning ridiculousness.

But because it was so hot, I definitely was concerned about his body temperature. While he was laying on my lap I kept fanning his face with a magazine I had unknowingly squished in the bottom of my bag. And with my other hand I held our little black umbrella over him, hoping it was enough.
Finally they started the graduation.

Somehow the planets must have aligned for us, because the sweetest lady ended up sitting in front of us.
Her name is Jill. And I think she saved me that day.
 
My hands were literally full, and she offered to take pictures for me, help me with Noah, whatever I needed.

Bless her heart. I needed it. (Being a mom herself, she must have seen the desperation in my face.)

There was no way I would have been able to hold him, the umbrella, keep him cool, and make sure all of our stuff didn't fall into the black hole underneath the bleachers.
I told her if she wanted to take some pictures that would be great. Trusting her with my new, (beautiful) Canon Rebel, her husband made fun of the situation, saying she'd be better at holding my little guy, having (I think it was) 4 boys of her own. I'm happy I let her try though, because she did a great job! I was honestly impressed when I looked at the pictures.
So take that, Jill's husband. ;)

Doesn't Ryan's group look nice in their blues.
Quite handsome really.



I had goosebumps. And I may have cried a little when they all said the Airman's creed out loud.

Congratulations, Airman. You are all amazing warriors.
*********

Tour Of His Dorm
After the graduation, Ryan was able to show us where he had been living for the past 8 1/2 weeks.
Doesn't his bed look comfy?  ...not
He complained to me so many times about how everything in the room had to be perfect. No wrinkles, blanket folded at an exact 45 degree angle. Socks rolled up perfectly. It drove him crazy.
They also had what they called at 341 (a disciplinary tag) tucked in their blanket. (Along with three of them in their pocket, at all times. If they did something wrong, one would be taken and they would be written up.
I could never complain about a man in uniform. Especially if that man is my husband. But I've gotta say, his blues are nice... but I really love his ABU's. They fill my heart with so much pride. Plus, he looks so good in them! So that doesn't hurt right? And don't even get me started about the dog tags.
They each had two drawers.
The top is for [rolled] socks, wash clothes etc. The bottom is for random items, and shower stuff.

Neatly-separated of course.
This is Alyx. I mentioned we sat near her at the graduation. We had talked online after seeing each other posting things on the A.F. Wingmom's facebook page. She was also an answered prayer. Another example of the planets being aligned just right.
It was pretty cool to feel like I already knew her, without ever having hugged her or shared a cup of coffee with her,  just through the words in our e-mails and facebook chats. And my expectations of her were simply that she was a beautiful person, with a beautiful soul, someone I connected with over our passion for being dedicated mothers and wives.  And meeting her in person only confirms that connection.


(I actually made that dress. My sweet Grandma helped me, and let me borrow her sewing machine.)

*******

Celebratory Dinner On the River Walk.

 
(Our family doesn't mess around, bring on the margaritas and Mexican food!)


******

Boat Tour On The River Walk


I know that we have a "real-life" waiting for us back at home, but for now I'm happy.

Our family is together, and that is everything I need.
laughing-together.  loving-together.  admiring-together.  listening-together.  being-together.

In this extremely beautiful city.

Knowing that he needed to be back at his dorm early that night, I couldn't help but hear the sound of a clock ticking constantly.
Telling me; 3 hours before he needs to leave. 1 hour before he has to go. 45 minutes until he's gone again. A countdown to loneliness.

All I could do is try and make the most out of the time we had together.

 

I found myself hanging on his every word. Watching his movements, noticing how he talks; wondering what this experience has changed about him.

That day we made each moment count. We took it in. We did our best to fossilize this moment.


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