It is rare for Kaitlyn to show this much enthusiasm over so many different things all at once, but I have a feeling that this weekend will rank right up there with the best she has had. Certainly one of the most memorable, without a doubt.
Amber and I did something that we would not normally do this past Friday, and that is allow Kaitlyn to intentionally miss school. Shoot, I am honestly surprised that Kaitlyn did not put up more of a fight to go to school, but she didn’t even bat an eye. We all had the day off so that we could head a few hours up the road to Columbus, Georgia. Specifically, our destination was Fort Benning. For the second year in a row, I was running in the Soldier Half Marathon (in honor of Captain John Tinsley), and this time, I was taking the whole family with me. Kaitlyn was finishing off her “Kids Marathon,” where she had to log 25.2 miles from early September until last Wednesday, and would put in the final mile outside the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning.
In order for Kaitlyn’s absence to be considered excused, we had to make the trip educational. No problem at all. When we arrived at Fort Benning, and after we got Kaitlyn and I checked-in for our respective races, we went through the Infantry Museum. I was a little concerned that the noise (simulated explosions and gun fire) at the beginning of the museum, dubbed “The Last 100 Yards,” would bother her, but it didn’t at all. She took time to look at each of the displays that showed an important battle in which the Infantry made an impact throughout the course of our history, and she took time to learn about the battles. After the entrance, we went into each specific “generational” room; there are several rooms dedicated to each era in the history of the Infantry. Kaitlyn was eager to learn about World War II, and took quite some time studying the map of the Battle of the Bulge. The final room we visited was the room dedicated to the over 2,000 Army recipients of the Medal of Honor, and Kaitlyn enjoyed learning about the Medal and some of the recipients.
Kaitlyn’s race started at 5:30 on the Avenue of the Flags, and she was excited to get going. She ran a great mile to finish her marathon, and then got in line to get her finisher medal. She was moved proud that she was given her medal by a soldier, and she told us that it was her “favorite race ever” because of who gave her the medal. For her to have such reverence for a soldier makes us very proud. Amber and I know that this past weekend’s race, and getting a medal from a soldier, will be something that Kaitlyn will always cherish, and it is just another accomplishment that Amber and I proudly were a small part of.
Our trip to Columbus was brief, and we headed home right after my race Saturday morning. We got home in time to watch the second half of the Noles’ demolition of Wake Forest and to relax a little. We had a big surprise lined up for Kaitlyn for Sunday.
For about the last year or so, Kaitlyn has been steadfast in one thing: she wanted to see Florida Georgia Line in concert. We found out in September that they were going to be coming here for FSU’s Warchant concert to kickoff Homecoming, and it was a no-brainer for us to buy tickets. We kept the secret for two months. On the way to the show, we had Kaitlyn wear her princess sleeping mask so she could not see where we were going. Once we were at the Civic Center, we got in line, and Kaitlyn was clueless as to why we were there. We waited until about 5 minutes before the doors opened to give her a ticket, and her reaction was one of shock of why we were there, and feigned anger at us for keeping the secret. In reality, she was happy to be seeing her favorite band. Once they hit the stage, she sang along with every song they performed, and I know she had a great time (surprisingly, however, her favorite song that was played last night was “Chillin’ It” by Cole Swindell, one of the opening acts).
All in all, I think this was a weekend that Kaitlyn will remember as one of the best she has had so far.