When my brother told me he was gonna join the Army, I thought he was totally all-talk. My sweet, little brother.. a fan of Thomas the Train, legos and pestering his holder sisters.. an immature, noise-making, farting middle schooler.. a chick-magnet, video-game-obsessed high schooler.. my brother has grown up. I think the first thing I said to him [in response to the Army plans], was "It's not the same as playing a video game, you know!!" I think all he said back to me was his infamous, "Really??? Wow." Ohh, little buddy..
Turns out, his Army-talk wasn't all-talk. It took a little getting-used-to for my Mum, who was (of course) concerned for his safety, yet so incredibly supportive. My dad was totally supportive of him joining too. I've learned a little bit more as his plans have progressed.. He joined the Army National Guard, which I know is less intense than other Military groups (Navy Seals, Marines, etc.) and he's studying Diesel Mechanics. I'm so proud of him, because he became really assertive about the whole thing, even becoming a top recruiter for the Natl. Guard, which he earned an award for. He's only 19! My little brother has grown up. Well.. for the most part..
In the past few months, Mitch has chronically been saying "meow". Uhh.. sounds strange as I type it, but if you have ever seen the movie Super Troopers - a movie about prankster State Troopers (I can't say I recommed it..) - there's a scene in which one of the officers are dared to insert 'meow' as many times as possible while pulling someone over. It's actually pretty hysterical:
Of course Mitch has been immitating this, and he 'meows' so much now, that all of his friends are meowing. My favorite part of this whole "phase" he's in? He calls it a "Meowvolution". Oh my word, Mitch.. I've heard it all. Before he left, I was so nervous that he would be verbally ripped to shreds and he'd be stuck washing the cafeteria floor with a toothbrush from 'meowing' his sergeants to death. In his letter he did tell me he got all 138 soldiers of his company meowing. Oh, Mitch. Of course you did.
Anyway.. I was so lucky to be home (a month ago) for his 'send off', as he is now in Fort Jackson for Basic Training (aka - boot camp). Of course, saying "goodbye" is an emotional affair. It's so crazy to think that now that we are back home, we're only like an hour and a half away from him. I so wish I could sneak into his base and bring him some sweatpants and Taco Bell.
Since he's been gone, I've sent him 3 letters. I actually should be sending more, because I know how much those guys cherish mail. I received my first letter from him a few days ago, and a phone call almost 2 weeks ago. I'm so emotional. Apparently, as rough as boot camp is, Mitch was lucky enough to get one of the better Drill Sergeants on the base. His unit or company or Infantry Regiment or whatever it is, is one of the only one's with a Facebook page, which gives updates and photos of the latest.He wrote about sleeping with his M-16 gun and what crazy times they have to wake up and train. I know he's working his little bum off.
It's been pretty cool to hear some of the letters he's written to my family back home. God is doing some pretty huge things in his life, as well as in his fellow soldier-brothers. It makes me so extremely proud of him. I knew he'd "leave a boy and return a man" after all of his training, but it's so incredible to see it happening. He's learning so much right now.. I wish I could talk to him and be a part of it. God has been getting a real hold on him, affecting his attitude and motivation. I love it, I could just scream.
Here's a few photos I copied from his company's Facebook page..
|Pretty sure I'd barf just looking at this. I'm not scared of heights or anything, I'm just a wimp.|
|[I'm pretty sure he's the one in front of the guy with his head down, back row, left of the tree.]|
|Taking a little break..|
|This photo, he's totally smiling again! [He's toward the left, standing near the guy who's mostly bent over]|
Ohh, Mitchy.. my little soldier brother. Can't wait to see him December 2nd for Graduation!