Friday, April 11, 2014

My Brother is off to the Navy!

Yesterday I said goodbye to someone I've known my whole life.  It wasn't a permanent goodbye; I'll see him again in 2 months, but it still feels like a long time that he won't be here.  Some people may find it really odd how much his leaving has impacted me.  We weren't exactly best friends most of the time.  Patrick and I could fight about pretty much everything.  Occasionally we could play nice together, but we never had that whole "loving brother and sister" relationship.  We usually did our own thing and "occasionally," well, maybe more than occasionally, try to get each other in trouble.

Even last year we were still arguing and complete opposites of each other.  We couldn't agree on anything!  He thought church was dumb; I loved going to church.  I didn't like the school we were at; he absolutely loved it there.  He'd pick on me for being short; I'd pick on him for his big feet.  We had a lot of silly little arguments and we'd both make snide comments that didn't really mean.  It seemed like all we could do was tear each other down.  We also had big fights to the point that I wanted him to leave home.

Throughout his senior year, he spent a lot of his time trying to get all his paperwork and stuff sorted out so that he could join the navy after graduation.  But, there were things he had to do before he could enlist and it took forever!  For those not familiar with the way the military works, everything has to be absolutely perfect and if one thing is not "perfect" then it takes months and months to "correct it."  That was the case with my brother.  He went up to Columbus to get his military physical and all that stuff and there was a spot on his back.  So they sent him home and said he had to get rid of the spot before he could enlist.  Seems reasonable, right?  Not exactly, the military likes paperwork and there wasn't any official paperwork for what the doctor did to get rid of the spot.  So that caused issues that took forever to get sorted out.  Also, when he was up in Columbus somehow his birth certificate was misplaced and he couldn't do anything until either he found his original birth certificate or sent for a new one from Virginia.  So as you can probably guess, Patrick was extremely stressed out during this time.  The more frustrated he got the more we argued and the worse our relationship became.

Eventually everything was sorted out and he was told what month he would be shipping out for boot camp.  It was summer, so April felt like forever away.  At first we kind of just went on like we had been.  But, as Patrick's ship date got closer and closer we became closer and closer.  About 2 months ago we became pretty good friends as well as good siblings to each other.  That's probably when it started hitting home for me.  This kid that I grew up with, who had always been there (even when he was the last person I wanted to see) was going to leave and he wouldn't be coming back to stay.  I really couldn't imagine home without him.

This is the last picture we took before he left for boot camp.
This could probably explain why he picked on me for being short! haha

Now that I look back on our relationship over the years, I see how silly our arguments really were.  I don't understand why we argued, we just did.  There's a million "what if's."  What if we had been closer?  What if we had been nicer to each other?  The list goes on and on, but it doesn't change anything.  I do wish that Patrick and I could have had a better relationship, but I am glad that we were able to bond before he left.  There was a point in my life where I would be more likely to say "who? No, I don't know that kid.  We're not related."  But now I am proud to say "Look! That's my big brother!"

I understand that saying of "you don't know what you have until it's gone."  I had an awesome big brother and I didn't realize it.  (He also had a pretty awesome little sister!)  Now he's gone and I miss him more than I ever thought I would.  Guess the important thing is that he is doing what he's wanted to do since we were little.  He's always wanted to join the Navy like my dad and now he's done it!

Please keep my brother in your prayers!  He's going to need it!

Also, please keep my family and Patrick's girlfriend in your prayers!  We all miss him and it is going to be a long two months.

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and wisdom to know the difference.  Amen.

God Bless!  Thank you!