Well, I have been home from San Antonio a few days now and I still haven’t managed to adjust from vacation-mode. Texas was absolutely amazing.
There was obviously something wrong with the plane we had taken from Florida to North Carolina. The flight crew was extremely grouchy and the plane sounded like it hadn’t had received proper maintenance in twenty years. As we left from North Carolina to San Antonio we had gotten word that there was a bomb threat at SAT, lovely. Don’t get me started on the turbulence we experienced on both flights! Our trip had quite a bumpy start, literally.
Once we arrived in San Antonio we found that the locals were more than pleasant. Apparently in order to live in Texas you must maintain a smile and proper manners at all times. We got barely any sleep on Wednesday night, which actually made it easy to wake up at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning. Our hotel was only a mile away from Lackland, which made it virtually effortless to make it on base. As we entered the gates our stomachs quickly tightened, it was the first time we were near C. in months. Finally it was time for the Airman’s Run. All of the graduating Airman ran past us in unison, singing their jodies. The Airman’s Run was followed by the Coin Ceremony and Base Liberty.
During Base Liberty we stayed at the Skylark Bowling Alley in order to beat the heat and get a bite to eat. Although it took a few minutes for C. to shake off his professional persona, he managed recover his sense of humor and talk for eight hours straight. It was great to finally hear his voice and hear about everything he had experienced during his time at Basic Training.
Friday had consisted of the Graduation Parade and C’s first town pass. It was the first time he had been off base since the beginning of June! San Antonio is a beautiful city. River Walk is without a doubt the most gorgeous place I have ever been. I adore the eclectic Western/Mexican style sprawled throughout Texas. I love Texas so much, it didn’t even bother me that it was 106 degrees outside, I just bought a cowboy hat (or four) and covered my expanding afro. That speaks volume.
We spent the next two days enjoying our time together as tourists. We managed to accomplish quite a bit in the short amount of time that we had. We toured the Alamo, Ripleys Believe it or Not, The Wax Museum, The 4D Theater, The Tower of the Americas and the entire perimeter of both River Walk and Lackland. I would say we managed to walk at least fifteen miles during the few days we were in Texas.
Since C. hadn’t had any sweets, listened to music, or went out on the town in months, he wanted to spend the entire trip eating ice cream, listening to music and walking all over town. I will never forget the first time he heard “Whistle” by Flo Rida, he started smiling his boyish grin and began whistling right along. He continued whistling for the reminder of the weekend…
Thankfully C. was an Honor Grad, so we were lucky enough to have an additional town pass on Sunday rather than Base Liberty. C. actually allowed us to take Sunday off from our Energizer Bunny-like schedule. We ordered in for lunch and spent the day relaxing and enjoying the last few hours we had together.
The courteous hotel staff allowed us to check out at 2pm instead of 10 am, which was wonderful. At 2 we left for the BX to get all of the supplies he would need for Tech School. As we began to check out my eyes began filling with tears. I knew our time together was limited. We made our way to the car and headed back to the bowling alley where we had to drop him off. As we got out of the car and said our goodbyes, his mom and I were both overwhelmed with with sadness. C.looked back at us as he was walking away and turned around for another hug, which naturally turned my little sobs into a full on a sniffly, sobbing, nose running tear fest. Attractive, right? Our overbearing emotions also caused us to get lost on the way to the airport (multiple times) and nearly miss our flight. Not to mention , his moms diamond straps on her shirt and her belly button ring set off the lovely new full body scanners at the airport so she was quickly whisked away for a private full body pat-down. That was interesting.
Spending the weekend with C. was magical. This experience has been by far the longest we have gone without seeing/talking to each other in the five years that we have been together. Seeing him in his uniform is a surefire way to melt my heart. Viewing his newfound manners and confidence causes a goofy smile to stretch wildly across the width of my face. Upon my arrival, I was weary of the “No PDA/No hugs longer than 3 seconds” rules while in uniform, but having C’s arms around me assured me that I was right where I needed to be. You know the old saying, “the longer the wait, the sweeter the kiss?” Oddly enough the same applies for hugs. I never knew how much a simple hug could mean to me until the first time C. hugged me after the Coin Ceremony. As we walked down the streets of San Antonio, many people’s heads turned to him and smiled as he passed them. Others stopped him to thank him for his service and shook his hand, no matter what their actions were, everyone looked at C. with a sense of pride. I do not think there is anything more rewarding than walking beside the man you love while he’s in uniform.
Thankfully BMT is now just a mere memory.
The days I spent in San Antonio were without a doubt some of the most memorable days in my life. Watching the one you love accomplish great things is the most thrilling feeling in the world. There are no words to describe the amount of excitement, honor and love I was able to experience this past week. Texas will forever hold a special place in my heart. I am truly blessed.
Now to begin counting down until the days he gets home from Tech School!