Wednesday, August 24, 2005

What a Great Weekend!

We went to Chicago to see my son’s Pass in Review (graduation from Navy recruit training, for the non-Navy folks out there). We had a great time! We left Tennessee on Wednesday evening, drove up to between Louisville and Indianapolis, and then on Thursday drove on to Chicago.

The Great Lakes Naval Training Facility is to the north of Chicago, in North Chicago. Lovely country, with the lake to the east and the plains stretching out to the west. Friday was the graduation, and I must say that the Navy does ceremony well. It was both moving and impressive. I suppose if you do something every week for decades you eventually do learn what works and what doesn’t!

Got my hands on my seaman as quickly as possible, and left for as much family time as we were permitted. He had liberty on Friday afternoon and early evening, Saturday all day until early evening, and Sunday. We consulted, and he wanted to go to Six Flags and ride roller coasters! This was a bit of a surprise, but we were amenable. Roller coasters are always fun! So we spent several hours of a very hot (over 90 degrees) summer afternoon riding up, down and around at fairly high speeds. Then it was back to the hotel to cool off and have a home-cooked meal and then back to the base to drop off the boy. The hotel bed definitely looked good that night!

Saturday was downtown Chicago. My younger son wanted to see the view from the Skydeck of the Sears Tower and all of us wanted to see the Art Institute. We started from the Lake Forest train station and spent a pleasant hour conversing, sightseeing and knitting enroute to Olgivie Station. Then it was off walking from the station to the Sears Tower and back to the Art Institute. More walking through the Institute, along with a slight disappointment – the textile collection was closed for construction! Only a slight disappointment, though, since the Toulouse Lautrec exhibit was open, and the European collection from the 1400’s through the 1800’s was open. By the time I’d perused both of those I felt like I needed a rest! I told my DH that I really wanted about 2 months of daily visits to the Art Institute and asked him to please arrange it. He laughed, and promised that if we ever came into a lot of money he’d do what he could.

Sunday was the day we had to leave to come home. Younger son had to be back at school on Monday, and older son’s girlfriend (also along for the weekend, and a really nice young lady) ditto. So we picked up our seaman as early as possible and went to breakfast – a late breakfast for us, and a second one for him. After eating we drove east to Lake Michigan and paddled our feet in the very cold water for a few minutes. Then it was back to the base for the last time, with tears and laughter and promises to try to get home for the holidays and to write often.

I’m so proud of all my children; they’re growing up to be good and responsible people. I do realize that this is only the first leave-taking – my son-in-law is already in the Army, and my daughter is headed into officer’s training as soon as she graduates from college in January – but placing a child into the hands of an impersonal military is so difficult. Time to stop this train of thought, or I’ll start crying again!

Knitting is a great ice-breaker on a crowded train! I was working on this glove’s fingers while riding to and from town on Saturday, and had so many people ask me about what I was making.

One lovely knitter in the Lake Forest station with a Russian accent and limited command of English communicated quite well that she loved the yarn (KnitPicks worsted-weight Andean Silk alpaca-silk-wool in a chocolate color) and thought that I was doing a very good job of knitting. Also that my DH was a lucky man to have a wife who would make him such warm gloves for winter! The train was also packed with Navy personnel and their families, and many of the seamen and officers commented on the knitting – one even hinted to his wife that he would like a pair like the ones I was making.

We’re back home now, and getting back into the daily routine. Work is busy, of course; you always pay for time off by having to catch up on everything you missed. It seems harder than usual, but that’s probably due to the cold I picked up somewhere on the trip. In any case I have lovely memories of a weekend of family fun to sustain me until I get to see my seaman again!


Laura said...

What an exciting time you had. I live in NW Georgia, about 30 minutes from Chattanooga. I can feel how proud you are of your children. My heart strings tugged a little reading your post. I wish them all the success in the world.

I know what you mean about having a space to yourself again. I still have a while. I have a 16 year old DD, and an 11 year old DD still at home. So, I can never find my hair brush, deodorant, some make-up, etc. lol. Good thing they don't knit or we would really be having a problem, lol.

Have a great Sunday.

TNWevr said...

We did have fun, Laura. As for the teenage chaos - all I can suggest is relax and enjoy it. I spent this weekend cleaning up some stuff that the older children left behind and wishing I was back in the midst of that same chaos! It's funny - I promised myself that I wouldn't suffer from empty nest syndrome. After all, I was in my 30's when the children were born, and I appreciate all too well the benefits of having only 2 adults in a household. But the longer they're gone the more I realize that I truly loved the noise and bustle. But now I'm getting the chance to clean things up and have them stay clean, I realize it's overrated!