My Brother, Headed Over There

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I know it’s been a little while since my last post, but I had a very important trip to make a few days ago. My brother is deploying to Afghanistan soon, and he’s home for pre-deployment leave. (He too is a Marine.) I had been planning to make the trip to my parents to see him for a while, but thanks to the Marine Corps, when that was going to happen kept remaining up in the air. One of the most frustrating things about the military is that you can never plan. If you want to take a trip, it has to be spontaneous. If you plan for it, something is going to come up. That’s one fact I’ve had to make myself get used to. I sometimes envy people who can put in time-off days ahead of time and know that when it’s approved, it’s done.

I really don’t like making long trips alone, especially not with a baby who easily tires of the carseat. So, hubby and I decided we would make this trip together. Not to mention, aside from deployment, we’d never traveled without each other. We just hate it. We love doing everything together. Call us weird. Call us lovesick. We just do absolutely everything together! Well, we originally planned for Evan to put in for leave for this weekend, but days after that decision, he was assigned to a three-month training course. That option was out. Poop! So, then we figured we could do a quick trip on the Columbus 96 weekend. Sure! That would work great! The Marine Corps had to poop on our parade once again. Evan was assigned 24-hour duty that weekend. Really?! He hadn’t had duty in forever, and it had to land on the weekend we were planning to be away. Go figure. Thank you Marine Corps. *sigh* No, I wasn’t bitter . . . not at all.

For weeks I struggled with whether or not I was still going to go. I didn’t want to travel without my husband, and I especially didn’t want him to miss out on this trip. But, I knew I had to go see my brother. For one, I badly wanted to; and two, I just couldn’t take the chance of something possibly happening to him over there and me not being able to say goodbye. I don’t want to be morbid, but just because my husband came home doesn’t ensure that my brother will. My brother and I were like two peas in a pod in high school, college, and after. We fought mercilessly as kids, but don’t all siblings? When we finally matured, we became super close. I’ll never forget the multiple long nights we spent walking and talking. That all kind of ended when Evan came into the picture, which is how it should be. Though that time with my brother fizzled out, we still remained close and talked when we could.

It finally came down to the wire, and I had to make a decision. I decided to go. I just had to. So, I made dinners for Evan for while I was gone, packed everything up, and left on Tuesday. When I opened the Jeep early Tuesday morning, I had the sweetest, most pleasant surprise waiting for me . . .

My husband always knows how to make me smile! I love that man so much! The 9 1/2 hour drive to my parents turned in to 11 when I hit heavy traffic. Surprise surprise. That would happen when I’ve got a screaming one-year old in the car with me. Thankfully, we finally made it before I had ripped all my hair out. I think I might have a bald spot somewhere. It was so good to see my brother. I can’t believe the man he’s become! I love him to pieces!

I remember when my brother first talked about going into the military. He was still in high school and so badly wanted to go right away. My parents strongly encouraged him to go to college first, so he did. Before arriving, he decided he was going to join the Air Force ROTC program there. For some reason though, things never worked out with that. His information always got lost in the system somehow. I think that was God beginning to direct him where He wanted him. After a year of college, Ben decided college just wasn’t for him. He then decided to pursue the Marine Corps. Things kept going wrong, but God seemed to work it out. After a long, grueling nearly two years, he finally made it in! I’ll never forget the many walks we took, where he told me how discouraged he was. I always knew he’d make a good Marine. I’m so proud of him! He accomplished his dream. Now he has more to fulfill. I just pray that God will give him that chance.

I had the wonderful opportunity of photographing my brother in his blues. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to update his blues since being promoted, but it’s okay. The man under the uniform is what really matters . . .

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I love you, buddy! Stay safe. You’ll be in our hearts and our prayers!

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