I am at a loss for words to describe how I felt last weekend when Captain Fun and I (with Hope in tow) traveled to the USMA at West Point for Matthew's long anticipated A Day. But here's the best list I could come up with.
Moved. When the band played and the companies marched, I thought of my dad and how proud he would be. He was a Navy man, and he loved the military. For someone who never attended high school, it opened up the world to him. I tried to think of what he would say at seeing his grandson admitted to West Point. My mother would have said, "That's first class, Marge, that's first class." But my dad was a man of few words and he probably would have just gotten that look on his face, and I would know.
Proud. After the ceremony, we had Matthew all to ourselves for the better part of two days. (Well, Hope was in on it, too.) Matt was required to wear his uniform and everywhere we went--from the funky cafe "Fiddlesticks" in tiny Cornwall, NY, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the uniform commanded admiration and attention. I thought about getting a t-shirt with an arrow that said, "I'm his mom" but I restrained myself.
Tickled. Captain Fun and I agree: It is hilarious that we have a son at West Point while at the same time having an infant. We heard it over and over. "Is that your baby?" Yes, we answered repeatedly: She's number 10, our cadet is number three. There are ten in all. It's hard to explain. You're blessed, folks told us. We agree on that, too.
Inspired. Grant, Lee, Patton and so many other history makers walked that glorious campus. You could almost feel their presence, and history lies around every corner. The statue of Patton stands near the library, for instance. The story goes that when the great general was questioned about why he took five years to graduate from West Point, Patton answered he could never find the library. Having a sense of humor, Mrs. Patton suggested having his statue erected just in front.
Captivated. If you have ever had a magical evening, you know what I mean. After we said our goodbyes to Matthew, Hope and the Captain and I stayed for a band concert at Trophy Point--the most scenic spot at West Point where the Hudson runs around Constitution Island. As the West Point jazz band played, what looked to be an ancient paddle-wheeled boat tugged around the island while a train made it's way around the mountain. The sun set, the band played, Hope fell asleep and Captain Fun and I took in the moment. Our son was now a West Point cadet.