We didn't know if Jackson could see us before he left for Afganistan until the meeting they had at 4:30 pm on Friday. In anticipation we had incarcerated Pearl thinking we could pick her up Saturday if it was a no go. Jackson texted me at 4:31 he not only could see us but he could leave the base and at 4:35 Janet texted me they were going over to Fort Dix to get him and we should head out ASAP - of course when I got home David was in the yard going "here kitty kitty...." - ARRGH! But Tammy had let me leave work early and we found both cats - we were packed and out the door by 6pm arguing for the first 20 miles from the stress. But we have gotten better over the years, we just argue as we go knowing we will run out of steam shortly - dysfunctional multi-tasking I suppose. We arrived at Janet and Diane's about 11:30 pm. Jackson looks wonderful as you can see in the pictures, all excited and a bit nervous about going to Afganistan - we're so proud of him! All of my parents arrived the next day, mom and Fred, dad and Maryann with Rhiannon so we ended up having a very nice send off for him. Diane and Janet had a BBQ with cake as there is no point in heading off to war unless there is a cake involved somewhere. Our family seems to have a cake for every occasion - if we were ever in a hostage situation I swear a cake would show up from Wegmans or Shop N Save with the appropriate saying inscribed in icing ("Sorry you got kidnapped - Good Luck with that!). Diane and Janet also took him to Best Buy to get the Ipod he's been saving for - he bought the ipod they bought the rest. Part of the day was spent with him loading up with music, I sent him a gift certificate for his Kindle so he's loaded up with books, David gave him money for the trip. We left about 5:30 - Janet and Di were bringing him back to the base around 6pm. I hugged him tight but I've gotten good over the years about waiting to cry after I leave them. I know he's doing the right thing - he is a big believer in serving his country and because he volunteered no one ended up being made to go. But we will miss him and be a little scared for him - it will be a long year.