My brother Michael is awesome! He is such a good guy. I love him dearly. The two of us grew up together. I imagine your response to this obvious statement is, "Well of course you did, you're brother and sister." And while you would be correct, I mean that we grew up
together. We had the exact same childhood which is something I cannot say for any of my other siblings. I have really treasured memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons together. Playing in the sandbox together. Quacking and skipping around the house like Donald Duck for hours and hours. That memory is especially fond.
While we grew together, we also grew separately. Into totally different people that is. During our teenage years we couldn't have more different. He was always very conservative and I was always much more liberal. I'm not talking politics here. I'm speaking in general terms. Attitudes, behavior, approach to life. We were just different. Those were interesting years for us. We were still brother and sister, yes always, but we weren't necessarily friends. We were way too different to understand each other during those times.
Then, when Michael was old enough, he went off and joined the Army. I begged him not to but in hindsight, that was unfair of me. It was something that he really wanted to do. My dad had served in the Army. I guess it just clicked with him as well. His first day of basic was supposed to be September 11, 2001. That obviously didn't happen.
Skip forward 9 years.
Michael is still in the Army. He flies helicopters professionally. He has already deployed to Afghanistan for a year in 2009 and he and his lovely wife Candice, whom I just adore, welcomed their first child into the world on October 20, 2010. They named her Adia Jade and in my opinion she looks just like Michael. I love that about her. They live in Texas so I haven't actually met my new niece in person yet, but there is one thing of which I am absolutely positive. Adia Jade is the daughter of one of the most adoring, loving and enthusiastic new dads ever. Michael just adores his girls. He is a natural father. He was made for this role in life. It has been so fun hearing about his adventures in fatherhood over the first month of his daughters life.
Two days ago, Michael deployed to Afghanistan...again. Like all military personnel, his job requires him to leave his wife and new daughter for months at a time. He has to travel into a dangerous part of the world and assist in transporting troops and cargo all around a war torn country. He wasn't excited about going. I mean why would he be? His life has completely changed right along with all of his priorities. (Thank you Adia) He is now much more interested in spending valuable time with his new daughter and his wife; building a new family dynamic and co parenting. But we all gotta got to work...right?I am so grateful to the men and women who serve our country.
These people sacrifice WAY more than I would ever be willing to sacrifice for a paycheck. They leave their homes, their loved ones, their friends, their lives
, to ensure that our country remains free. They serve and protect less fortunate people around the world and hopefully contribute to the spread of freedom for all mankind. This is a big job! It carries with it a lot of weight.
I am so proud of Michael, for being the man, husband, father, son, and brother that he is. He is truly an amazing person and friend. Yes, that's right. We are friends again. After all of our years together we have come full circle. I look forward to when he gets home in July. (The silver lining is that this is a 7 month deployment as opposed to 12 months) I'm excited to see him with his daughter in his arms, picking up where he left off a few days ago. I am anxiously awaiting that day.
Until then, Mike, you are in my prayers. I love you!!