Well, I was waiting for it to happen, and tonight was the night. Say what you will about the state of our nation, your politics, your religion, your thoughts on war, peace and everything in between. When you see a picture of your little brother like this, everything changes. For me, the Army is a whole new ball game these days. When I saw this picture of Evan, I stared at it for a good solid five minutes and held back tears. Then I didn't hold them back anymore, so the best place to go is the blog, right? Right.
My first reaction was pure and simple pride. I am SO proud of Evan. For leaving home. For making it through basic training. For going far, far away from his family and his friends to do something he is passionate about. I can only hope that my own kids will be so lucky as to find something that empowers them the way the Army empowers Evan.
My second reaction was fear. What's going to happen to him? Is he okay out there? Does he know how to do laundry and cook himself dinner? Does he have enough friends? Is he being careful with all those GUNS?! Ack! So scared.
My third reaction was a sequence of images from my memory that swirled around this picture in my head. His scrawny ten year old shoulders when I would clench him against my waist. His crooked tooth grin when he would sit on my lap in the backyard swing set. His pajama feet hanging off the edge of the bathroom counter when he watched me put my makeup on before going out on a Friday night. When did he get so big?
Next I thought about how all of these feelings of pride, fear, and nostalgia are only coming from me because I'm his sister. Looking at this picture as a sibling is probably nothing compared to looking at it as a parent. I can't imagine what a picture like this does to the hearts of my dad and my stepmom. I should call them tonight, but I'd be a blubbering idiot on the phone. I know Sally reads the blog, so...I'm thinking about you tonight! And Evan, if you're reading, I LOVE YOU! And I miss you. But I am so incredibly happy for you. Proud is the only word that can put all of this together, I guess. I'm proud of you. You're amazing.