Yesterday he came down to spend the day with me; I am so lucky that my younger brother still enjoys hanging out with his big sister. He was a big help in my classroom as he hung curtains, made a large welcome sign (he & my sister are both more artistic than me), moved furniture, and helped organize. Although it was a working kind of day, it was nice to just be in a room just the two of us. We talked about what he is looking forward to, his fears, and what the future might hold for him.
After working in my classroom for several hours, we came home and relaxed and then went out for our "Last Supper". I then had a GOTR meeting, and he had to get home so he could get to the Navy office today, but he also took Bailey back to my mom's for us so she could watch her while we are on vacation.
Saying good-bye this time was much harder than when he left for bootcamp. With bootcamp, there was an end date; I knew when I would get to see him again. With A-School, he was in Chicago, so it wasn't far and he could come often. Now this new transition is a new challenge. He will be stationed in Norfolk, Virgina, and well, that isn't too far away, but there is more to this. Yes, Norfolk is close and we could easily drive there for Christmas or Thanksgiving, but when those Holidays come around, he won't be there. His ship is on a world tour right now, so as soon as he gets to Norfolk he will fly out to where his ship is and be there for about a year. Yes, that is right a year; I will not see my brother for a year! I know people do this all the time, and some do this with their husbands or wives, and to me that is incredible! I won't get to to celebrate his 21st birthday with him, see him on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just on a random weekend. I know in my heart that he will be just fine, and this is a part of life, but regardless of where we are in our lives, he is still my little brother, and as a big sister I will always have this feeling.
Although, I am feeling sadness for the lack of visits we will have in the next year, I am very excited for him. He will get to do things most people will never experience in their lifetime. He will get to be on this ship and enter different countries; the different types of cultures he will get to experience will be an indescribable experience. In one year, he will get to visit more countries and see more sites than most people do in their lifetime. So, although I will miss him, I know that is very selfish because this is going to be an incredible experience for him. I am excited to see the ways in which he grows even more in the next year.
So, here is a quick last note to my Sailor brother:
Yesterday was hard, yesterday was very hard! As I sit here and write this while icing my legs, I still feel a lump in my throat, a pit in my stomach, and an overall feeling of sadness to know that it is going to be a very long time until I see you again. I have told you over and over how proud I am of the man you have become, and this still holds true today. I am envious of the experiences you will have in the next year and am extremely anxious to hear about all your endeavors, and to see how these new experiences will have shape you into an even more well-rounded man. This will be the longest I have ever gone without seeing you, but in my heart, I know it is okay. It is all a part of growing up, right? At least that is what I tell myself in order to stop the tears. From the day you were born, you have meant so much to me, and 20 years and 9 months later that hasn't changed one bit. I treasure all the time we have had together over the years, and especially the time I was able to see you while you were on leave. I look forward to seeing you again, no matter when that may be.
My advice to you, you know I have to since I am the big sis, is to simply, ENJOY! There is no other time in your life that you are going to be able to see the world from a boat! There is so much to learn from other cultures, so when you get to go into different cities, take it all in and see as much as you can. Always know that we will be thinking about you and praying for your safe journey. When you get home, we will celebrate your 21st birthday New Haven style! I love you, Z!!
Your big sisMe, Zach and Court @ the Zac Brown Band concert- what a great night with my favorites!