July 24, 2016 - Toddlers & Nuclear Missiles

Webster defines the word “insanity” as “Taking four children ages 5 and under with you to a tour of a nuclear launch facility without snacks or a nap.”  After today, I realize Webster nailed it on the head. 

Permission to Come Aboard

This weekend was Fort D.A. Russel days, something that I’ve heard about hear in Cheyenne (they hold it every year), but neither Heather nor myself has ever attended.  They let you on the local Air Force Base, which is literally a quarter mile from our house, and perform re-enactments from practically every war America has been in, give tours of historic homes of former military leaders, and give tours of the Nuclear Missile sites. 

When we first arrived they already started having a little trouble.  It was a little warm out.  Our 5 year old decided that she wanted to whine the heat and get mad at her sister because she was sitting in the self-shaded stroller.  This while listening to a Civil War Camp discussion.  I’ll give them a little credit, they did make it through an Old West gunfight reenactment before this.

Teaching Toddlers How to Launch Nuclear Missiles

Naturally, 30 minutes after their typical naptime, we decided it would be a great idea to take the missile tour!!  What could possibly go wrong?  Well the baby was hungry, as we realized that we had forgotten to pack her milk.  The 5 year old and the 2 year old were way too fidgety 7 feet away from a 30 foot missile maintenance hole.   Once we moved on to the classified area (every toddler should enter classified military areas), everyone had to go to the bathroom.  20 minutes later, we missed 85% of the presentation and held up a giant line outside the lone restroom.

There's a nuke under there.

Super great idea to bring 4 little kids into a small crowded room that sits atop ICBM's.
Next we moved into the command center.  You know, where the military receives the President’s commands to launch the ICBM’s?  Where they put in the codes to confirm the launch.  Yeah.  Four kids under 5.  The baby deliriously yelling, sometimes happy…sometimes upset…decides to grab onto the first thing she sees.  We don’t even know what this big black handle looking thing is, but it looked important.  Her screaming caused us to have to leave the room.  Upon return, whilst the demonstrator is entering the launch codes, the 5 year old and the 2 year old got into their scheduled hourly scuffle, about who-knows-what.  Then it starts to hail outside.  We are trapped between the command center and the outside, in a big room with a wonderfully loud echo.  AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

(sorry no pics of the room, it's a classified area, but make sure to check it out if you are in Cheyenne)

The Separation

The nuttiest part was the bus ride home however.  When the next to last bus arrived, we noticed that the front of it was full.  I would have had to lift the stroller over several innocent bystander’s heads.  In a split second decision, we decided to split up.  Why?  This made no sense.  She would take this bus with the 3 older kids.  I would take the baby, the giant stroller and all the stuff  we brought with us.  Great idea!!!  We both realized how absurd this plan was as Heather’s bus was driving away. 

The baby was extremely tired and hungry, and pretty much screaming unless I held her.  I decided to take her on a walk, maybe see if we could just walk out the base gate.  Well you could, on the other side of the busy street.  I looked back…there was the short bus…now two football fields away.  I ran all the way to catch it.  When I got there I realized “how am I going to hold this baby and fold up this giant stroller.  Well the bus driver was just standing there staring at me…so I put him to work.  Once we got the baby and stroller on board, riders started piling in…walking by me and the screaming mad baby in the first row. 

We arrived at the tourist infested entrance to Frontier Park 5 minutes later.  Once again I put the bus driver to work and proceeded on my way.  The baby top of her lungs screams echoed off the 50’s era houses as we passed dozens of people on the way to the van.  I had to get her out and hold her to keep her calm.  Once we arrived at the van Heather was not there.  2 minutes later she explained to me her own chaotic story. 

All in All - They Were Good Troopers

We realized during all of this just how good the kids actually were for us both on that Military Base, and how it all fell apart when we separated.  As difficult as it was to keep them content and behaving together…it is near impossible alone.  So, no matter the difficulties we face in life or our marriage, we know how important it is for us to remain faithful to our marriage vows and each other until the end.


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