Dan's ship left yesterday, and it really could not have gone any better. Dan didn't have to be there until 10am, so we had a nice relaxing morning. Of course we played some Mario Kart Wii.
Two ships fit on each pier and Dan's ship was at the far end. I never get to take pictures (security), but everyone was snapping away so I took advantage.
The ship felt like Freshman dorm on move-in day. There were families everywhere, some extended family seeing the ship for the 1st time. Obviously, it's our second home.
Families were allowed to be on the ship until 11am, so we got the kids some snacks to make sure their bellies were nice and full. We met some families and had some pictures taken.
While Dan was getting snacks, I took this video.
I had teared up a couple of times before now when I accidentally saw some other families saying good-byes. I kept telling myself, "Alicia, stop looking at people!" But when Dan walked us out to the pier, it was our turn to do that. There was no delaying it anymore. As soon as I hugged him the tears flowed freely. While Dan and I were hugging, Timothy came up and put his arms around both of our legs, which was so precious to me. Timothy has a very hard time connecting emotionally, so when he can live in the moment and allow others to experience their feelings he's really stepping outside of himself.
Dan went back on the ship to "Man The Rails", and we stood on the pier as close to him as we could. We had another hour before the ship actually left, and I didn't know that my kids would make it that long. Since this was my first "Send Off" (last deployment the kids and I had just moved to Dallas), I was really hoping to see the ship pull away. Thankfully, God provided 2 very important things. One was shade. Timothy can only stand the heat for so long. And the second was this family. (Isn't Breanna adorable in her sailor dress?)
Steve is standing next to Dan on the rails. (A little to the right of center).
Kristina's son, Dillon, and my kids had a great time! They would yell things to their dads, run around, and then take a break in the shade. It allowed Kristina and I to relax and actually soak in the moment instead of being overwhelmed by crying/screaming children. I can honestly say it was fun, but more importantly it was memorable.
This crane is lifting the bridge off that allows us to walk on the ship.
These sailors are untying the ropes.
This smoke basically means someone has put the key in the ignition.
And my FAVORITE picture of the day.
In case you need the close up.
Dan, we love you.
We stayed the whole time, and we watched the ship leave until we couldn't recognize Dan's face anymore. There was laughter from everyone around when Samantha kept yelling, "Bye Daddy! Bye Daddy!!!" It was all very matter of fact and oh so cute. Kristina and I took the kids to McDonald's afterwards where they played for over 2 hours!! That was like the cherry on top to a great experience! Having to face something so miserable, I don't know how it could have gone any more smoothly. Thank you, God.