I never thought I would see this day come. The day where my brother became officially property of the US Navy.
My younger brother (only two years) has always talked about joining the military. He was the type of boy who had posters all over his wall stating his obsession with the military. He was the type of boy who made guns out of anything and everything and then would roll around pretending he was in combat or on missions. Harmless playtime, nothing more. At this time he dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot for the Air Force. But then his vision started to fail, like the rest of ours, and he had to get glasses. This small setback crushed all his dreams. So then he decided he wanted to join the Marines. My parents were not thrilled about this and I wasn’t either. I tried to support him with this decision, but in my heart I prayed he would decided another branch or just back out altogether. Is this selfish? Yes. But I never thought we would be a ‘military’ family. It just didn’t seem real. The countless movies I have watched about war and fighting, I never pictured my brother among those men. I guess I didn’t want to. Who wants to picture that? It’s a scary thought, honestly. I mean, I am trying to take this very seriously. I don’t want to live in fear always wondering if my brother is okay, but you kind of can’t help it when it’s family! And very close family.
Joining the Navy has been the best things for my brother. The year leading up to boot camp has been a major growing experience. He joined the Navy about the same time I left Virginia to come to Nashville and so I didn’t get to see the process at all. He was still a little punk in my mind. But I saw him a few weeks ago and was able to spend a whole weekend with him, which was amazing. I have never connected with my brother like that ever, it was like we were on the same level. I kept looking at him and thinking, wow, my brother is a man. And the reason this is such a crazy realization is because he is the baby of the family. There are four girls ahead of him, and then my brother…(and don’t think he’s had it rough, because he hasn’t. We take very good care of him…sometimes) It was very cool for me to see my brother maturing and becoming a man. And this past weekend I went home to see him one last time before he shipped off to boot camp and I did pretty well, until Saturday night. I just looked at him and burst into tears. It wasn’t like a huge sob fest or anything. I was just so overcome by emotion. He gave me a huge hug and everything was okay, but I was just so overwhelmed. It just hit me, this is really happening! I won’t have any contact with him for months, except the few letters I get to send him. At least he’ll be able to hear from me…
I’m excited for my brother, I truly am. I really think this was a good decision. And I am so proud of him, because joining the military is a committment. A huge one. And in the year it took to get him here, he could have backed out anytime and he didn’t. I actually took him to his last visit at the recruiters office. The recruiter sat him and another guy down and told them what to expect in boot camp. I got a little insight myself, which I felt good about. I now know some of the process he will be going through. From what I have heard, bootcamp is intense, but my brother is a pretty tough guy. His name is Caleb, which means ‘like a bulldog.’ To latch on and never let go. Man, did my parents name him right. This kid is a fighter and he never, ever gives up.
I guess the thing I’m afraid of is how much he will change. I know he will be a different person once he steps out of boot camp. The recruiter warned us about that and so has Caleb. Which I think he’s a little nervous about, but I know it will be good for him. I really believe this is where the Lord wants him and so everything will just fall into place. It always works out.
I am so proud of my brother. I know he’s going to do great!
Love you, Caleb. Always in my thoughts and prayers.