I’ve been holding out on posting this blog because I wanted to be in a place where I was ready to re-live it again and missed her.
I miss Saigie everyday of course, but let’s be honest…I know I know, I was feeding my Instagram and FB like I was Seymour on Little Shop of Horrors that weekend! However, the true magic was nestled away in my Canon…itching to come out and remind us all what a blessed time we had with our daughter, Family & Friends. Plus, it’s always an honor to witness Military ceremonies like these. I think it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
The weekend started Thursday, when we were able to actually lay eyes on Saige for the first time since she left. The lack of communication during the 8 weeks they are gone really digs deep into your psyche for the Service Members and Families. Those 8 wks served as a transition period for Saige to march on to the beat of the Air Force’s core values…Integrity, Service & Excellence. I think we heard her mention, explain, refer to and quote these values at least 6 times a day. Seeing her on that Thursday for the first time, even without speaking to her yet…she oozed all three.
For earning Top PT (Physical Training) Female for her graduating class, she was called to lean the Airman’s Run. Something we had no idea of when we arrived. What a feat (even with her repaired ACL & meniscus)!! The serious muscle she gained, watching her sing cadence, the pride on her face…Jam on it!!
She saw us and our 6 foot banner on the second pass and then I saw my Saigie emerge for just a millisecond. That smile….I was a ball of tears and exploding with joy. We all were…
After the run you wait….and wait. They run off back to their squadron and change for the next event of the day, the Retreat and Coin Ceremony. This ceremony signifies their transition from trainee to Airman. Receiving their Coin is the first step in graduating to an official Airman. It was the first time we got to see her in Combat Uniform, see her Drill (march), and also see her with her Flight & Military Training Instructors (MTIs). I was completely fixated. she may have been in a crowd of people and one of the masses….but I feel like I got to cheat bc I was able to zoom in and see her game face in action. However, this Ceremony was much more intimate than Friday’s Graduation. Can you spot the Airman?
We also found out that after they chose her as Beast Monitor, they upgraded her to Element Leader. This is distinguished by leading the line in drill and formation. Front Right!!
When I was going through the photos, I noticed her eyes were always searching for us. How cute.
They have to carry the flashlights wherever they go during Basic Training and during the weekend we were there. Saige called them Lackland Lasers lol.
Receiving her Coin from one of her favorite MTIs.
Once the Ceremony is over, they announce the Airman are released. As they stand in formation, Families and Friends must “Tap Out” their Airman in order for them to move from that formation. We had decided before coming that I would tap Saige first and G at the actual graduation. These next photos are priceless. I ran to her and neither one of us could keep composure. What a special moment and something I will keep in my heart for all of time.
Sniff….it’s a lot!
Graduation day was a bit more relaxed. The wait was over. We had people from all over come in that day as well. My Cousin Charlie and his wife Michelle, whom I haven’t seen since I was preggers with JD I think, Tia Rosa and Tio David, G-Pa and Popo of course, Katie was with us as well, and some of Saige’s friends from Germany showed up too…Roberto, Angela, The Bonanos and Hawkins Family represented from her high school softball team too. It meant so much to us…and to Saige I know. Seeing her in her dress uniform was such a treat. She stands out…always!
Seeing G tap her out was one of my favorite moments of the weekend.
These were her two Wingmen. All leaders during BMT and all “brown” as they say. Hispanic lady mafia in full effect lol.
Saige wanted to recreate the photo of being at Lackland on this same parade field when she was 2 with Maria and her Dad….she asked Rosa to take her place. What a great tribute.
After graduation, the Family gets to come up to the dorms and see how they lived and show off their area. It’s a big deal to them due to the fact that all they’ve been focusing on is rolling t-shirts perfectly, spacing out hangers, making hospital corners on their bed and cutting strings on the uniforms. Saige claimed her title as Best Roller and Best Hair as well, FYI. Not bad….I never DID see her make a bed in my house lol.
Saige told us that the strings and knots on the bag also have to be perfectly positioned. Attention to detail….BMT training 101!
I just don’t know if I can really wrap my head around it still…she’s firing weapons now?!
The study guide looks like it got about 4 wks worth of her time lol.
These were her favorite MTIs….when they saw George in his uniform, they were in shock. “Isla, how come you never told us about your dad being a Drill SGT? We would have definitely put you as dorm chief right away.” George, “She needed to earn things for herself.” They told us she was a stellar trainee and is going to be one of those “solid leaders” as an Airman. Proud moment for sure.
After we said had lunch at Saige’s requested restaurant, Texas Roadhouse, and said goodbye to some of the peeps, we ventured to Downtown San Antonio and visited The Alamo…of course!
The rest of the day we spent shopping and eating of course…we ate so much. I had sporadic moments of tears because I knew our visit was closing in on us. Our last day, we did some last minute errands Saige needed to get done and then went over to a friends’ to watch the Super Bowl and have a home cooked meal until it was time to drop her off one last time. She couldn’t stand saying bye so she wanted to make it fast….and I just wanted to keep holding on. Of course, my tears were because I’d miss her terribly…but the tears were also caused by joy. Joy for her new chapter, her life choices, her accomplishments and her determination & outlook on life these days. I’m ok with letting her go now because she’s ready and she will always be in our hearts no matter what. Having to say bye to the boys was really hard for her. She loves those two so very much.
We will see her soon enough when she comes home after to tech school (I’m already planning that party). Then she will be off again on her new adventure…which we found it is going to be a year in Korea!! Gah…it’s not the top choice, she picked all the bases in FL of course which she will hopefully get after Korea now, but she is a Military Brat so she’s got this. She knows how to respect culture and maintain an overseas lifestyle (the traveling alone is going to do her right). Aaaaand, I guess I’ll have an excuse to get my fanny back to the Pacific.
Thanks to everyone that reached out during this weekend and congratulating our girlie. We couldn’t be more proud and you guys have helped validate that point even more. We will keep y’all updated….
To check out the full gallery of photos, click here:
Thanks for looking,