Brother

Hey Blood Brother…

It doesn’t seem that long ago that my brother, Mark, and I were driving along Duvall Road and headed to Waffle House. We’d have the windows down and sing our hearts out to Alice Cooper, before filling up on a kings feast of artery-clogging breakfast items.

It wasn’t that long ago that I spoke to him while his base was being bombed in Afghanistan. Naturally, he was safe. And naturally, I was worried sick that somehow…something could happen. It didn’t. And I’ve never been happier to see him than I was this afternoon when he picked me up for an impromptu visit to Baltimore, MD.

The one thing I can say about Mark and me (mom, I finally got it correct!) is that we’ve traveled a lot of roads together; together and separately, we’ve gone through experiences that have helped shape us into who we are. And these journeys have reflected between the two of us, no matter where we are in life, or in the world.

It was a freezing morning and I was driving Mark to a hotel in Columbus, OH, for his departure to boot camp. It was a very hard goodbye to make, as we lived together for a good part of that year and had bonded as brothers, friends, and MID (men in development). Driving through the snow, I couldn’t remember a single bad memory we shared – though there were several sharp ones – instead, I could only look back and appreciate the late night food runs, workouts, and laughter we shared until we were streaming tears down our faces.

That tearful goodbye was quickly followed up by one of the proudest moments of my life, as I witnessed him receive the Military Excellence Award; selected as the #1 pick of his 6,000+ class of U.S. Navy recruits. I’ll never forget the moment where his name was announced in front of a crowd of thousands, as he stepped forward to be publicly recognized for his outstanding character and ability. More tears. This time, they were of joy and pride.

Laying here on his couch, in a city quite different than Dallas, I am reminded of what a gift it is to have a strong brother that is also my best friend. I’ve seen many families get torn apart between long-term arguments, rather than being bound together in a bond of love and respect.

And we laugh. Oh, how we laugh! It’s quite frequent that our laughter overtakes a public place, as tears stream down our face and our guts begin to ache.

There wasn’t a direction for this blog. But, I wanted to jot down a few notes during this trip to remember, recognize, and appreciate the gift of a brother that I have. I’m not sure where he will land as he ponders his leave from the military (I’m hoping for Dallas) but I have full confidence that he will land wherever he plants his feet and make a mark for himself.

Featured Image From Deviantart

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