Jordan's graduation was on Friday, so we headed to Chicago on Thursday night. We were excited to see that there was a "Cheesecake Factory" not far from our hotel.
I was in desperate need of greens, and this salad hit the spot.
The Naval band played music and all was well. I finally got choked up when the big doors opened right in front of us to this spectacular site, sailors marching to the haunting beat of the drums. I still get chills when I look at this picture, remembering the emotions it stirred up inside of me. It was an amazing experience.
Each division came out in order, parading in front of anxious family members. I searched the faces of Jordan's division, hoping to see my daughter.
I started using my zoom lens, to scan each face. I finally found her, staring right back at me. Can you spot her?
There were lots of hugs and kisses after the ceremony. I wasn't able to get too many pictures. Jordan needed to head back to her barracks to get a few things so she could leave with us as soon as possible.
While waiting, I snapped a few pictures.
What is up with the scowl on Eva's face? I was up at 4:30, and the girls got up at 5:30. It was a long day.
We went back to our hotel room, where Jordan proceeded to take a long shower. No more 3 minute showers for her! For dinner, Jordan chose....."Cheesecake Factory". Thankfully, we didn't have the same waiter. It was so good to see this face sitting next to me at dinner...
...and this weird face sitting across from me.
After dinner, Jordan had to say good-bye to Grandpa. It is always hard.
We drove Jordan back to her barracks at 8:00 p.m. She had to take the bus to the airport at 12:30 a.m. and wait at the airport until her flight left at 7:30 p.m. She was told she could not leave the airport as she was group leader for 17 sailors. We were all going to drive to the airport the next day to hang out with her for a few hours. But, instead, she called us at 3:30 a.m. to tell us she could leave the airport! Let's just say Jordan was living on adrenaline, and Mike and I were not. So, Mike drove out to the airport to pick up Jordan. They stopped on the way to pick up a friend currently at Great Lakes base, who Jordan met locally while waiting to leave for boot camp. He graduated before Jordan arrived, but is still at the base for his training. They were all back at our hotel by 6:15 a.m.
Now, here is the sad part (for me, anyway). Jordan's friend has a similar look as my son, Seth. When Joy woke up and saw this young man sitting in the living area, she told her sisters that Seth was here! She came into the room, walked straight up to him to show him her sailor hat, saying, "Look Seth!" It broke my heart when she realized that it wasn't her big brother. Joy quietly climbed into my arms looking a bit confused. I can't blame her. I would have loved it if Seth was with us.
Since we were checking out of the hotel and heading home that morning, we had breakfast with Jordan and drove her and and her friend to downtown Chicago to Navy Pier to see the sights. We said our good-byes right there. Although we had very little time together, it was a special time with our daughter.
(I can see why Joy thought this young man was her brother)
Jordan arrived at her next destination last night, exhausted. She is hoping to start her schooling soon.
Next stop: Parris Island for Seth's graduation.