Friday, July 25, 2014

A Boy & A Boat

Sitting in his dad's old chair
Being all boy my son is obsessed with everything involving transportation. From planes and trains to trucks, buses and boats he loves them all. He already owned an extensive collection of toy airplanes before the Pixar movie Planes was released and was over the top with excitement the first time he saw the movie. While he loved the airplanes he was amazed at airplanes landing on boats (or in this case an aircraft carrier). He just thought it was so cool and his fascination lead to his being gifted with his own miniature aircraft carrier. And, more importantly, this gave Glenn the perfect opportunity to explain that landing airplanes on aircraft carriers is what he used to do before Sidney was born. This lead to Sidney wanting to learn everything he could about aircraft carriers. We checked out library book on the topic and watched documentaries on television but this only added to his obsession with them. But living first in Albania then in Belgium, we never had the opportunity to show Sidney one in person. Until we visited our old Norfolk stomping grounds that is.

As luck would have it, a good friend made a series of phone calls and the next thing we knew a personal tour of an aircraft carrier had been arranged. And it wasn't just any aircraft carrier; it was the last carrier that Glenn had served on. Now I've been aboard carriers on several occasions so they are no longer a novelty to me but I knew Sidney was going to be thrilled when he found out what we had planned. We managed to keep him in the dark until the last minute so he was beyond excited when we told him that not only was he going to see the carrier but he was going to be able to go aboard. His pace quickened as we walked up the brow and into the expansive hanger bay. If you've never seen one they are cavernous affairs. Void of aircraft we felt dwarfed by its size. With Sidney standing by his side and listening intently, Glenn explained the ins and outs of the hanger bay. Then we moved up into the tower, climbing up one ladder after another. I had been a bit worried that Sidney might be hesitant to do all of this climbing on steep ladders but he scrambled up them like a pro only pausing to ask questions about what he saw.

Checking out the view from the tower
Sidney loved exploring the Pri Fly (a.k.a. the tower) where he plopped himself down into his father's old chair and took his turn using the binoculars to check out the water below us. (And true to form, he was also impressed by the large bottle of ketchup sitting by the coffee maker!). By this point in our tour Sidney had a broad grin stuck on his face and kept saying how "amazing" it all was. Down on the flight deck Glenn explained how the catapults worked and Sidney was quick to say that his aircraft carrier also had them. As we walked the length of the flight deck Sidney checked out the various lines and stopped to look at each light that was imbedded on the surface. While the F-18 was impressive Sidney said that he had seen bigger airplanes before and it wasn't the Concorde (a reference to our earlier visit to the Air and Space Museum in Washington).

I was momentarily forgotten as I followed along behind the two of them but that is OK. I loved watching my two boys, my husband and his little mini-me exploring the carrier. Glenn was excited to be sharing such an important part of his life with Sidney and Sidney was eating up every one of Glenn's words. After the tour Sidney said he couldn't wait to go back to Belgium to tell all of his friends about being on an aircraft carrier. And hours after leaving, Sidney was still grinning broadly and as he said "thinking about the aircraft carrier". It really doesn't get much better than that.
Exploring the flight deck

No comments:

Post a Comment