Am feeling a little better this morning. Not quite up there, but, feeling better. Now, Part 2.
While we were waiting for the Coin Ceremony to begin, there, in the handicap section was a couple with a handicapped child. His name was Brandon. He looked to be about 12-13 yrs old. You could tell he was severely handicapped as he was in a special stroller. His dad told me he was epileptic along with other special needs. They didn't go into it, I didn't ask. He was excited to see his big brother that day. When big brother had left for basic training, the airport allowed Brandon to go to the gate and watch his brother's plane take off.
As I watched this mother and father dote on their child, it touched my heart so. The mother would lay her cheek next to her child's cheek. Oh, you could see the love she had for her child. Every once in awhile, I would look over at husband. He would be looking around, somewhat confused as to what was going on, and, knowing all he wanted to do was see Jack. I got a lump in my throat, thinking how excited he too was, only to see his son.
Once we were reunited with Jack, we were told the Airmen had base liberty until 7 PM. We had the whole day to spend with Jack.
A few hours later, I was sitting outside one of the BX's, while Jack took his dad inside the BX. There were so many families walking with their Airmen, mother's, father's, sisters, brothers, wives and children. And who did I see? Big brother pushing Brandon's stroller. The look on big brother's face told me just how much he loved his little brother. Brandon was wide awake, looking around, with a glow. He had his big brother back. Mom and dad looked so proud of both of their boys. They were a family united. Oh, how that touched my heart. Tears ran down my face as I watched them. What love. What devotion to one another.
Now, the Jack I knew used to complain he had to throw the trash out. It meant involving him walking. Add a dose of Air Force Basic Training and the boy has been transformed. He walks everywhere now. Just about killed me off the first day. Because I didn't rent a car, I knew we would have to depend on public transportation and our shuttle guy. Also, that first day Jack was not allowed to leave the base.
We walked, and walked and walked. Finally, I sat down and said, "Ok, I have to sit down." Jack said, "Mom, come on, you see that big bridge over there?" I looked, about 3 blocks away was one of the big overpasses on the base, a big bridge. I said, "Yes, I see it." "Well, we are going to go over that." I looked at him and with a firm set of my jaw, said, "Oh no we aren't." He started laughing, saying I couldn't handle it. I agreed with him, told him wouldn't it be nice to sit awhile? So, we compromised. He took his dad to the mini-mall and I sat down and put my feet up.
What was really sweet of Jack was, once we were together, he told me he would push his dad. Told me he was giving me a break for 3 whole days. And, push he did. He was tender with his dad.
Then it was time to leave. On the shuttle the other families and I were talking about our day with our Airmen. I told them how my son walks every where now, and we all laughed at the big changes in our Airmen. We all had such a bond. It was a special moment, all these strangers from all over the country, sharing this common bond.
Back at the hotel, husband took his shower, I took a hot, hot shower, we had dinner and relaxed. Oh, my feet hurt, my back ached, but, I was happy. We went to bed at 8:30!!
Next up, the Parade on Friday morning. What a beautiful ceremony with all the Airmen dressed in the Blues.
Pictures are forthcoming, I promise. Pat has to help me, I don't want to screw it up.