To my brother, the Marine.
You know what's funny, is that when we were younger, I never wanted to hang out with you -- you wanted to hang around my friends when they came over so I herded them away; I wanted you out of the house on my birthdays, etc. etc. Sibling stuff, nothing unusual. You were a younger brother to the max. (Well, not as bad as Matt on Lizzie McGuire, but still pretty obnoxious.) I got mad at the double-standards that go with being an older sibling -- you got to stay up as late as I did, even though you were younger, and you never did the dishes, and all the rules were easier on you because I'd already gone through the system.
But now -- as always happens, I suppose -- I want to hang out with you...and I can't. San Diego's only a couple states away, but it feels awfully far.
I hope you know how proud I am of you. I mean, you're still my obnoxious little brother who doesn't do the dishes and couldn't pick up his dirty clothes to save his life, but at the same time, you've changed. I hate saying this because it sounds so freakin' cheesy, but every now and then, I see what the military sees -- you're a man. It breaks Mom's heart, the way you don't need her to hold your hand or take care of you anymore, and it freaks me out. When did you get so capable?
You should also know that I brag about you all the time. "My little brother -- who's a Marine now, by the way -- could kill a man with his thumb." "My little brother, the Marine, came back saying that boot camp was too easy." My ultimate goal in life (besides being able to do a pull-up) is to be even 1/10th as badass as you are.
Today, I had to be the chill one at the airport. Mom was doing that embarrassing tearing-up thing she does, and I had to be all cool and like, "Come on, look how well he ties his shoes, you know he's gonna be fine. Don't worry!" But I'm thinking the same thing she is.
Yes, you could get time to come home for Christmas -- and you better try as HARD as you POSSIBLY CAN to get that time off! You could also be stationed in Hawaii by that time. Pretty sweet deal, dude...though you'd need to get that six-pack back before hitting the beaches.
However, you could also not come home for Christmas, and you could get stationed somewhere else. Maybe that desert one, 29 palms or whatever; maybe somewhere in the Pacific...maybe Afghanistan.
I have complete confidence in you. I know you know what you're doing; I know you could take down anyone who comes at you. But what about the other guys? What about the people in your platoon who are garbage and don't know what they're doing? What if there's secretly a Private Pyle in your bunch? What if they screw up and you have to go save them and risk your own life?
Oh Mark. I can't dwell on things like this; I just freak myself out and it doesn't do any good, anyway. I guess you should just know how much I love you, and miss you, and want to spend time with you. Whenever I can. I want more jiujitsu lessons, more time reciting the same movie lines together, more time making jokes that fly straight over Mom and Dad's heads. More time smacking you upside the head for caring more about your Droid than about eating dinner as a family!
Someday, I hope to be working in the same place that you're stationed. Meeting for sweet tea in Kabul would make a great story, don't you think?
I love you mucho, widdle brudda. Come home soon and often and always.
Life (and death)
3 days ago