March 19th... my grandpa's birthday. He's now in heaven. Last year, we had reason to celebrate again on March 19th. Ryan graduated from boot camp.
I looked at the photos this morning and got a lump in my throat again as I relived that day.
We had arrived the day before for Family Day and all of us had seen Ryan except Jeff. Jeff had awakened that morning with the stomach flu and had to stay in bed. Ryan wasn't allowed to leave the base and we were praying that Jeff would be well enough to attend the graduation the following day. We all felt so bad that they couldn't see each other that first day.
March 19th, feeling better but not great, Jeff forced himself out of bed and over to Ft. Jackson. Emotions were high as we waited for two hours for the graduation to start. We could see the troops assembled at the end of the field and Jeff was having a hard time sitting in his seat, knowing Ryan was only a few hundred feet away.
After the ceremony, I took this series of pictures as Jeff finally spotted Ryan in the crowd.
The day before, we had finally been able to see Ryan after 10 weeks of boot camp. We were beside ourselves!! There was a nice ceremony and then we were told that we could go find our soldiers. Well...that was easier said than done. There were hundreds of them, all dressed alike and wearing hats. We eventually found Ryan after what seemed like an hour of searching... I actually walked right past him. All of a sudden I heard the words,
I whirled around and there he was! Here are some of the pictures from that day.
"Come on! Let's get this show on the road!"
"Ooohhhh...what was that LOUD BANG?"
Here they come!!!! (Now that just gets your heart pumping, doesn't it?)
Do you see Ryan?! Me, either.... :)
Ensuing bedlam after families are told they can go find their soldiers
Jake salutes Ryan...badly..as in placing his hand in the middle of his forehead...
...which totally cracked Ryan up
I need more hugs...
Molly gets her hug
Chloe finally gets to see her Ryan. The bear is Bobo, which used to be Ryan's. Chloe has been faithfully babysitting it.
Posing with Grandma and Grandpa
Letters from HOME
Gotta have the T-shirt