My favorite memory of the past year.

2012. Is it really coming to an end? I have to say it is a blur of a year as I stand on this side of it, but then that is the case always. This year was truly the year of the oldest. He graduated from high school, turned 18, and entered into service. The moments that stand out the most to me are two. I have to cheat a little apparently, even when I make the rules. The first I have already told you about when I shared my heart in this post. I will always remember seeing his eyes.

The second was this moment right here...

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We had been sitting in the bleachers for nearly an hour. Knowing where to sit was tricky. We didn't want to get trapped into a spot, yet everything was filling up quickly. Turning in our seats looking back out through the chicken wire fence we could see the flights begin to line up waiting to enter the marching pad. People began to stand trying to see over others, and the buzz grew louder. A few left their seat to get closer to the flights for pictures, but that would have been too tempting for me. I had already seen him once at a distance. I needed to see him close up now. The marching pad was cleared off, and heaven help whoever went the short way across. The distinguished guests came in, but few eyes were resting on their seats. Everyone was looking for their airman. Everyone couldn't wait but had no choice but to do so.

As they marched out onto the pad we couldn't see any eyes or faces. Our seats were just far enough away that everything was a bit of a blur. They announced which flight was which, so we were able to confirm the general vicinity in which he was standing and we stared at that group through the entire process. With their backs facing us they said their oath, received their coins, and became airman. Tears flowed, hearts beat, cheers came. And then they were put at parade rest. As the distinguished guests left the area the people began to slowly come to their feet as horses waiting for the race to start. Once permission to find our airman was given we all went with haste.

Laughter and tears rang out all around us. Some sprinted, some went carefully. A few airmen were hard to recognize by the mother who birthed them. They had changed in more ways than their uniform and lack of hair. They had grown. They had become men. And tears flowed.

We knew the section to head towards but things became confusing and chaotic when you threw the other family members in the mix and we lost our bird's eye view. But finally we found him and all plans of teasing, playing, kidding, and making faces at him while he couldn't move flew out the window. I halted Captain long enough to get the camera to my face, and then he tapped our son out. Hugs ensued, words were shared, and laughter rang out. Yes, tears flowed.

A new life had begun two months prior, but that day signified all the hard work that had preceded it. Yes, 2012 was the year of the oldest. And this moment signified the year.

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