Monday, July 12, 2010

017: Graduation

I cannot express how ecstatic I was this past weekend. Only if you've gone through something of this level of separation from your spouse, can you understand how incredible it is to see them again. From what I can tell, Cage had an adventure. He said multiple times that it was incredibly difficult, but he never really complained about the experience. Yeah, he said it sucked... but he wasn't whining. I am so impressed by his positive attitude throughout this entire process that it really has lifted my own spirits. The weekend was busy, but very fun. I picked up Cage's sisters from the airport around midnight and we were finally in bed and sleeping by 1:30am. We were up at 6am, the Airman's Run at 8am, and the Coin Ceremony at 11am. Because of bad weather, each training squadron did their own coin ceremonies at their headquarters. Cage had the rest of the day free to be with us, of course, his priority was eating! We hit up Burger King and then went to the bowling alley on base. After that we just wasted time at the mini malls and had some dinner before returning Cage to his training squadron. The girls and I then hit up Target and Ross for Cage's snack and swim suits for the pool the next day. We were up (again!) at 6am the next morning for the Graduation Parade. It would have been rained out and held in the training squadron headquarters again, except there was 4 Star General in attendance! His niece was graduating! How cool is that!? So, they did the parade in their ABUs (the camo outfits) which apparently has NEVER happened before. It was really cool, and since Cage was in the band flight, he got to play his trumpet and march around all important like with the brass and bugle corps. We then had to wait, while everyone else got to go to their Airman, while the band put up their instruments. After they were dismissed, we walked over to his dorm to see it. It was very interesting to say the least, and I will probably NEVER complain about my lodgings in college after seeing where Cage had to live for almost 2 months! We left Cage there to change into his blues, and went to get the car. I think I walked almost 4 miles throughout this past weekend. We drove back, picked up Cage, and went to Taco Bell for lunch. We went back to the hotel, had some alone time, went swimming with his sisters, watched hours of TV, took naps, talked to family on the phone... Basically, an awesome day. We went to dinner at a Chile's down the street and I was a little wary of the part of town we were in, but I did feel safer since Cage was with us! We had Cage back on time to walk over to his dorm, and the girls and I went back to the hotel and passed out! The next day we got to sleep in until 8am! I woke up at 6:45am and couldn't fall back asleep! But we were there on time to pick up Cage for our San Antonio adventure! We hit up Lulu's Bakery and Cafe, which was featured on the Travel Channel's Man VS. Food, and enjoyed their 3lb. cinnamon roll! After we had gorged, I drove around to find a parking garage, which was incredibly stressful, and finally parked the car. We walked through downtown until we found the Alamo, which was beautiful, and we then walked down the RiverWalk for a while. I have to admit, it was way too hot to be outside for much longer, so we retreated into the Mall! We decided to watch a movie with the small amount of time we had remaining. Cage hasn't seen ANY of the summer movies yet, so we thought it was a great idea! We watched The Karate Kid because of Cage's great love for Jackie Chan. After the movie, we were cutting it close to get the sisters to the airport on time, but we made it and their flight left without a hitch (as far as I know!). Cage and I had some alone time and got to talk through a lot of the changes coming up for our family in the next month. I had Cage back on time at the dorm and packed up my hotel room while watching Disney Channel for hours and hours. I did fall asleep, eventually. It was difficult being alone in that room and knowing that the next day was going to be the last time I see Cage for a while. Sunday was wonderful. Cage was restricted to base, so we ran the last few errands he needed to do before packing for Biloxi. We had some of his wingmen join us for an excursion to the BX and later for church. Church was such an incredible experience. The chapel was filled with 0-weekers to just graduated Airmen and their families. That many people in camo, with their arms wrapped around each other, some of them crying... It was powerful. After that, Cage and I ate a late lunch and I took him back to the dorm. Watching him walk away was, to date, one of the hardest things I've done in my life. I've already been able to text him a LOT, since the plane landed in Nashville... but I'm unsure of when I will get to see him again. I should be able to live in Biloxi and be near him, but both of us are unsure of when we will actually get to live together. If Cage and I were able to stay strong through just under two months of no more communication than 5 phone calls and 10 letters (I sent him 40+ letters)... we can make it through anything.

And, naturally, here are some pictures from the adventure!

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