1. Don't attempt to flat iron hair. It's humid enough that it just ain't gonna work.
2. Don't take hotel shuttle. Better to drive our own car.
3. Pack extra pants IN ADDITION to extra panties. If we pack them, we won't need them.
We woke up Friday morning to another foggy, cloudy day. Weather reports assured us no rain until that evening at the earliest, so we felt secure in just grabbing our jackets and heading to MCRD.
The color ceremony was scheduled for 8:00am. I REALLY, REALLY wanted to see this. I was pushing everyone out the door like the room was on fire only to hit the lines at the gate into the base. Again, hurry up and wait. The lines were long and since they were stopping every car, it took some time to get through. The stopping of your vehicle consisted of putting it into park, lifting the hood, popping the trunk and everyone getting out so that it could be searched. Luckily, they let Sis stay in her car seat but she was NOT happy the rest of us were out and she wasn't. *Note to self - they didn't do this with the shuttles, so if one wants to smuggle contraband onto base - take hotel shuttle.*
Based on the previous day, we strategically parked and since I had rushed everyone out the door, and we had already missed the colors ceremony, we headed to the market for a hearty breakfast of donuts and pop. I also found the sweet swag section of the mall and made some purchases.
Splenda and Luka headed over to the stands to get good seats, while I waited in the commons area for cute Aubrey. Her husband is stationed at Camp Pendleton and they VERY KINDLY offered to let Sissy come play with them and their kids for the duration of the ceremony. That way we could actually watch it, and she wouldn't be miserable and bored.
I can't even begin to thank her enough! There is no way we could have done the ceremony, enjoyed it at all, even been able to watch it, and do the whole 3 year old hussle. Aubrey- you are a LIFESAVER!!!! And her sister Anna too!!
(Anna, Charlie, Sis, Me, Aubrey and lil JJ)
'dawg had some good friends make the trip down and we were all waiting for the ceremony to start.
It began with the Marine band playing some songs. They were fantastic and added so much to the whole atmosphere.
With the set up of the depot and the parade deck, it made for some awesome acoustics with the music and the announcements over the PA system and once the chaplain offered prayer, my tears started.
We were again introduced to the Drill Instructors. The Commanding Officers. Applause, thanks and much ceremony as they present themselves to the audience.
(Would you want one of these guys screaming in your face?)
The honor guard was introduced and they presented their platoon flags back to the DI's. Passing back their torch for the next platoons of Mike Company.
A lot of talk about Love of Country. Love of God. Love of the Marine Corp. Once a Marine - always a Marine. Talk about all that they went through to EARN the right to be part of this elite family. Splenda videotaped the whole thing for us to have, but it's much too long to post. And I'm not sure it would be appropriate. It's special. It's something that one has to be there to fully appreciate.
I watched 'dawg's face for almost the entire time. He never broke bearing. I wondered if he could see us in his peripheral vision. I wondered if he could feel our pride and happiness in/with/for him. Could he feel Heavenly Father pleased with him? I wished I could be in his head and heart to feel what he felt and think what he thought.
It was one of the most amazing things I have ever had the honor or privilege of attending and witnessing. I will never look at my flag the same. I will never look at a fellow Marine the same. Or his mother. Camouflage is the new black for me. It's beautiful. The Eagle, Globe and Anchor stir feelings of pride and loyalty in me. I won't ever be the same. And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing. I know that serving in the armed forces is not for everyone, but I am happy that my son chose this path. It's a righteous, noble and honorable sacrifice. To think that he is now willing to die for freedom is sometimes too much for me to wrap my head around. The ceremony itself certainly causes all the emotions to bubble to the surface. It was hard not to blubber and pull the ugly girl cry!
After their final order and one last OOH-RAH! They were dismissed and he was DONE!
Some pictures and then he was ready to get off that base!
Tuffy, Meghan, Luka, 'dawg, Corby and Mick
Back in line through the gate to get out and back to Old Town for his first real meal.and some 'at ease'
His "first meal" at Miguel's
(any place we went, we had to make sure there were chicken nuggets on the menu!)
And of course the complimentary fried ice cream for the newest Marine - side note- Sissy thought it was disgusting and actually spit it out!
He spent the evening with his buddies that had made the trip down. Shopped at a real mall, got some civi clothes and caught up with his friends.
The boys, Sissy and I chillaxed back at the hotel and watched the weather reports. Rain was coming......the question was when and how much.
NGL - As handsome as 'dawg is in his uniform, I most def think she is cuter in the hat - just saying.....