The kids and I just returned from a 2100 mile round-trip road trip. We journeyed out from Michigan to Rhode Island to witness their dad graduate as a Naval officer. The trip there was full of excitement and anticipation, and the kids behaved so well. My mom and Rob's mom came out with us--I doubt I would have been able to do this without them--and we drove Rob's jeep to him so that he would have transportation during the next section of his training. So we divided the kids between the two vehicles to ward off conflicts. It worked. On the way home, all seven of us were crammed in the van, and there wasn't a lot of fighting, but OH, THE NOISE. It was quite the challenge to drive through NY City and then down the New Jersey Turnpike with squeally Lily and yelling Seth and giggly Gabe. Caleb was the quietest one...unless he was sitting by Lily, who engaged him in her loud and physical play.
But other than the noise, the kids did great.
Oh, the joy of that very first glimpse of Rob dressed in his summer whites. Hubba hubba. Caleb and Gabe tried to leap out of the moving van. Lily and Seth screamed and laughed. My heart was full and my smile was large.
The first words out of Seth's mouth: "Dad! You're a captain!" (Not quite...) Later he told me, "Daddy wears a pilot's costume!" Seth and Lily clung to Rob the whole time. Seth especially couldn't stop touching him. Lily said, "Can we please bring Daddy and his red jeeper home with us? Pleeeeeeeease?"
We had the best time with him. His graduation was as full of pomp and promenade as you can imagine there would be in a Naval ceremony.
Our time together sped by, and too quickly we had to say good-bye.
Seven more weeks...six and a half now...and we'll be a family together and not apart.
We're so proud of him and the sacrifice he is making to answer God's call.
The sadness of departing Rhode Island (a gorgeous, highly under-recognized destination) mixed with excitement about our next stop: historical Philadelphia.
WE LOVED IT! Standing in the same room that held so many American Greats gave me goose bumps. Being so close to the bell that rang out its announcement of FREEDOM! swelled my heart with thankfulness to the God who gives true freedom and the people who have sacrificed so much so that my children can live in a free country. In the midst of economic unknowns and election-year divisions, still I must stand up and say, "God bless America, land that I love!"