Anyone with siblings knows that one of the sibling gets blamed for everything the other one does. In my case, my brother was the one that constantly got in trouble for things that I had done. I’ll go ahead and say it, I was a brat. My little brother was the nice one out of the two of us. As a three year-old, Christian offered to take spankings in my place, just so I would not have to feel the pain. All the while,Â would pinch, hit and pull on him. Nevertheless, he showed no malice toward me. He cried and told on me, but still treated me lovingly.
Our relationship did not change much until I got into high school. Sure, he was still the annoying little brother, but we became better friends once we were both a little more mature. So one would not be surprised that I was upset by the fact that he wanted to enlist in the Air Force as soon as he graduated from high school.
I blew it off at first, thinking it was just a phase and that it would eventually pass. However, it did not pass. Christian continued his plan to enlist throughout the following summer and his senior year. I tried, and when I say tried I mean tried very hard, to discourage him from going into the service. He’d had such a bright future ahead of him: he was enrolled in a culinary program at his high school; he got a job as a chef at a pretty upscale restaurant. The military was not for him, I thought.
He constantly argued with my mom, who like me, did not want to see him in the Air Force. His high school graduation got closer and closer, and his decision was not wavering. Still, I hoped and prayed that he would change his mind.
Last summer, it became final. I had come home from studying abroad in time for his high school graduation, and there were only a few days left with him before he had to go. “He probably won’t like it,” I thought. “This is not his ‘thing.'”
On the last night he spent at home with my family, my mom dad deeply struggled with the thought that their son was leaving. While I tried to comfort my aching parents, I too was dealing with all kinds of emotions. I was nervous, worried, sad – but happiness was not at all part of what I was feeling.
So, he left. It was hard to say goodbye, but he did what he felt he needed to do. A few months later, after countless letters and sparse phone calls, he was to graduate from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. So my family made the ten-hour trek to the hot, muggy city, endured the terrible humidity and watched my brother graduate from boot camp. It was then, when I was standing outside in the 100 degree heat, watching him stand at attention, that I felt something other than sadness and anxiety. I felt proud – proud that my brother was selfless enough to commit himself to serve his country, proud that my little brother had grown to make his own decisions and not let others influence them, proud that my brother Christian had grown up.
Turns out the Air Force was his thing. He will be deployed to Japan within the next two weeks. After lots of different emotions throughout the course of three years, I am finally just excited that he is getting the opportunity to live and grow up.