After the graduation Wesley was able to spend the rest of the day with us. The first thing he wanted to do was take a shower, apparently showering in Boot Camp is a little rushed and not so private. After his long hot shower he put his uniform back on and we drove to Chicago. The plan was to maybe do a little sightseeing, grab some dinner, and have Wes back to base by 8:00. Since it was just after noon this seemed totally doable. HA! Listen, we are not farmers, we live in/near a city, we have been to town before, but we were fools to think we could just drive into Chicago, park on the street, grab some pizza, and get out of Dodge. First, the traffic was madness, Friday afternoon and all, then it was going to cost our life savings to park anywhere, plus we had made the mistake of being spontaneous and not looking up a restaurant beforehand. It didn't take too many obscene gestures from cab drivers before we knew we were out of our league. So, to quote Siri, we "recalculated".
We decided to head back towards the base and stop for dinner at the first place that tempted us.
On the way we passed this sign, which for some reason I found hilarious. I guess we'll see who's laughing in a few years when I'm petitioning my own city to post some in my neighborhood.
Then we passed this Target. Upstairs, shopping, downstairs, parking. City folk think of everything.
While we were eating we called Nate and Eli at home and they were able to Skype us using my iphone.
(This is where I tell you how much closer my phone and I have become after taking a trip together. If you thought I loved her before, you cannot even imagine how much stronger our bond is now. She told us how to get EVERYWHERE, she made it possible for our kids to see and talk to one another FROM A HOT DOG JOINT IN ANOTHER STATE!!!, and when there was some confusion over Wesley's flight information for Saturday morning, the Facebook app, and all of those strangers that I was too nervous to go meet on Friday night, helped us nail down the details, thus averting another panic attack. My phone and I are never ever breaking up. Ever. Please imagine you just read that paragraph while Kip Dynamite sang the Technology Song in the back ground.)
On Saturday Wesley was flying to Pensacola for his A-school. All of the sailors get dropped of at the same time no matter what time their flight is leaving. That meant that Wesley would be arriving at O'Hare at around 4:00 a.m. We wanted to be sure we would get to spend some time with him before his flight left and we didn't want to take a chance that we might not connect, we decided we would get to the airport at the same time his bus did, so we got up at 3:00 in the morning and drove to O'Hare. I have never been so tired and so cold at the same time.
We pulled up right as the buses were arriving, Sylvan dropped me off then he went and parked in a lot so far away that he had to take a bus AND a train back to the terminal (Way to make things harder than they need to be O'Hare, sheesh.), and I got to see them all walk in together. Which, naturally made me cry again. But not a sob cry, and honestly, I blame at least half of those tears on exhaustion and hypothermia. It was pretty impressive. There were probably 200 young men and young women at the airport, some of them waiting 8 hours or more for their flights, basically left to their own devices after 8 weeks of being told when to breathe, they could have gotten crazy if they'd wanted to, but they stayed in uniform and were so respectful and, just really, dignified. There may be hope for the future after all.
We stayed with Wesley at the airport for a few hours. We hung out, ate some over priced pastries, and took pictures at all of the required posing locations.
Then we hugged him really tight and said goodbye again, but this time it wasn't so bad. He's able to have his phone and a computer now and we've been able to talk or text everyday since he got to Florida. His school there is short so we'll be seeing him at home in about a month. I didn't cry at all.......until we got in the car, then I started sobbing and talking about how proud I am of him, and all of our kids, and how I don't deserve such great kids, and how I couldn't feel my hands because I think wearing two pairs of gloves was cutting off the circulation, and that I was starving because I hadn't eaten anything but fried vegetables in two days. Poor Sylvan. Sometimes even great drugs and an amazing phone aren't enough to hold back the crazy.
Coming tomorrow......I turn into the most obnoxious tourist since the Griswolds visit to Paris.