Until today, it'd been 2 weeks since I'd talked to my little brother, Isaac, or as I affectionately refer to him, Bubba. He's out in CA training to be one heck of a soldier.
He called as we were headed out to a park for Mac's soccer game and the wind was intense. I ended up climbing underneath the playground and squeezing into a tunnel to try and get away from it. Kids kept running by and looking at me like I was the biggest weirdo. I sat there for an hour, soaking in his laugh and his stories. I don't know what it is about little brothers, but mine never fails to make me happy, to get me to loosen up. He is as familiar to me as a piece of my own skin. With him, I'm just myself and that is all I need to be.
It's hard me to think of him leaving for Iraq in June. He's willing to give up family and friends, a normal life, and ultimately, his very life - for me. For you. For this country. Sound cheesy? Get over it. In the last couple months Bubba's morphed into a man and I couldn't be prouder.
But when I look at him, for a moment, he's just a little boy in red rain boots, sitting next to me on a tree branch. Then I blink and that little boy is gone - but I tuck the memory of him away into the back of my heart.