The next morning, Saturday, found us heading early in the morning to Flanagan's for the breakfast buffet. We were the first ones there and were treated to scrambled eggs (Alex was thrilled they were REAL eggs, not powdered), bacon, sausage links, pancakes, waffles, french toast, corn beef hash, hash brown potatoes, fruit and juice. And the coffee was hot and delicious!
It was fabulous! Once breakfast was done, we decided to head down to the Navy Pier.
That weekend was the same weekend an Air & Boat Show was going on, so traffic was intense. We found a place to park and then made our way to the pier. Once we arrived, we decided to ride the giant ferris wheel that is there, and took some pictures from the top of the ferris wheel, which is 150 feet off the ground. It took about 8 minutes for the ride to be over and we got our picture taken, so of course, I bought a couple of them. Alex got one, and we came home with the other one.
Another event that weekend was the Turkish World Festival. We saw a lot of people walking around and smelled the most wonderful food cooking. We then saw the band walk by us in full costume, which was really cool.
We then toured the rest of the pier and made our way into the Family Pavilion. Alex saw the Imax Theatre and had mentioned that he wanted to see "The Dark Knight", so he bought tickets for all of us. We then found a place to have lunch, and sit for a while until the movie started.
Let me just say, it's a shame Heath Ledger is gone. His performance and the performance given by Aaron Eckhart (Two Face), were both brilliant. If neither one gets an Oscar nomination it will be a crime. The effects were fantastic and to see them in the Imax was beyond belief. I also saw the trailer for "Watchmen" another superhero type film, directed by the director who made "300", and based on the graphic novel. Unfortunately, "Watchmen" won't be coming to theaters until Spring of 2009. But I plan to see it.
After the movie, we came out and there was a huge crowd of people everywhere! We walked out and began walking along the pier, watching the tour boats coming in and going out when there was the sound of jets, flying over and we looked up to see the Blue Angels!!! I had never seen them before, not in person, anyway, and the Navy sailors on the pier all cheered. It was incredible! They flew back and forth in manuevers and formations for about 20 minutes! We tried to get pictures, but they were so fast, we could barely catch them on our digital cameras. It was a bonus for us, because we heard the show had been delayed and we would have missed the last part of the Blue Angels if it had been on time. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We did some more driving around, then that night we ended up eating the homemade enchiladas at the hotel lobby, watching the Discovery Channel on the flatscreen television there. QH's mom sent along some macaroni salad and I had some fajitas from Flanagan's I had brought back from the night before. After dinner, we decided to get to Wal-Mart so I could get a charger for my phone. Kathy, the waitress, gave spot-on directions and we found the nearest Wal-Mart and got what we needed.
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for gas, and while QH was inside getting ice and paying for the gas, I noticed Alex was quieter than he had been Friday night and asked him if he was ok.
"Yeah, it's just weird being out in the real world again, you know?" I realized then, he had been through a lot, and he said it better than I ever could. "For the first two weeks, I didn't even have a thought! Not one, and then when I did, it was like 'Hellooo? It's me, Al', and now, I'm here listening to music, and watching television, and eating REAL food."
"Yes, and you know what? The worst of this is over. You made it, son. And I'm so proud of you, we all are." Since I was sitting in the backseat of the car, all I could do was squeeze his shoulder.
It was going to be hard leaving him here, but in a way, it would be easier knowing he was on his way to bigger and better things. But it was still going to be hard. In that moment, I sympathized with those parents who are leaving their kids at college for the first time, leaving them behind and driving home without them. I prayed for strength. I needed all the help I could get.