We had a wonderful time in San Diego. On Wednesday, we went to Balboa Park. If you ever get to San Diego, I highly recommend going here. It's got some beautiful gardens and architecture and a whole bunch of museums. Hubs and WE went to the air and space museum while my FIL and I went to the Museum of Man and learned how they shrink heads (it's pretty cool) and make mummies. We did supper on the pier and watched the sun go down on the Pacific, something I haven't seen since moving from Hawaii.
Thursday we met up with a couple of Angel #1's friends who also came to the graduation. We all got a crash course in following orders and getting yelled at by drill instructors, as well as learning what the guys did during basic. We got to watch our soldiers both start out, then finish a 4 mile motivational run, though I'm not sure what's motivational about running 4 miles. Though we could see them, they weren't allowed to even so much as look at us. After there run, they got cleaned up, then showed off their marching skills before being dismissed for the first liberty they'd received since they left home October 31st. Once they got the dismissal, we all swarmed down on our Marines and did a whole lotta hugging. People warned me that I wouldn't recognize #1 because Basic changes their looks so much, but, besides the fact that the guys all wore the same clothes and had the same 'high and tight' haircuts, I picked him out fairly easily...except the glasses threw me off a bit. Let me tell you, they don't call military issue glasses 'birth control glasses' for nothing. I think they did a study to find the more horrendously ugly eye glasses possible, then made the uglier, then stuck them on my son's face. Whenever we took a picture of him, he made sure to take his glasses off first. We only had about 5 hours with him and he wasn't allowed to leave the base, so he just showed us around and we took him out to eat at a buffet they have on the base. The funniest thing about the whole day was how much #1 talked. He's normally a VERY quiet, taciturn kind of guy, but wow, he sure was a chatterbox on Thursday. He had so much to tell us and just talked and talked. We were all laughing about it by the end of the afternoon.
Friday was the big day - graduation. I did pretty good about not crying, but I have to admit, my eyes were pretty watery when I watched those young men come marching out in such perfect order, knowing that just 3 months ago they were a bunch of ragtag kids. The ceremony was all very precise and orderly and the only flaw was one of the guys in #1's platoon passed out twice. Afterwards, #1 told us that that guy was one of the platoon slackers and whiners and no one was surprised that he messed up. He also said the drill instructor was so mad he was cussing the guy out under his breath during the rest of the ceremony. I was just happy when they were dismissed and the most difficult and challenging 3 months of my sons life was over with. He later said that it wasn't that bad once he got used to it. I thought maybe hearing all that you went through to be a Marine would change WE's plans for after high school, but now he wants to be a Marine more than ever. So I'll be going through all this again in another 4 years from the looks of it.
Anyway, now I'm home and doing tons of laundry. Not only do I have the catch-up laundry from being out of town for most of the week, but I have 2 sea bags worth of Marine clothes to wash. I've sorted them into different patters of camo, except for one set that gets a load all its own. #1 said he wore them for The Crucible, which is this huge endurance thing that's spread out over 3-4 days. I'm not sure exactly what they all do, but from the looks of it, at some point they all got up close and personal with a mud puddle. Those clothes could almost walk themselves to the washing machine.
It sure is great having all 4 of my babies home together again, even if it's only for 1 1/2 weeks.