I woke up this morning to a text message from my younger brother, Matt, and it said " I passed my pt test" and all I could do was smile. I couldn't even text him back at that moment because I was too excited (and half asleep). To an average "civilian" this may not seem like such a big deal. However, to me and my family this is exactly what we needed to hear. This is what we had been praying for for the last 3 weeks. This meant that Matt comes home in 2 1/2 weeks for a few weeks. This meant that after the weeks he would be home, he would be moving to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky to provide our great nation with security and defense and we could actually see him on a more regular basis, BUT this also means that I am closer to having to say bye to Matt AGAIN for a long period of time while he FIGHTS in IRAQ!As I drove into work this morning, I began thinking of my 2 brothers and how they have always stood by my side through everything in my life. Whether it be pageants, twirling, or extremely bad break-ups, they have always been there to put a smile on my face. Often times when we were growing up, they went without so that I could have. They sat on the sideline while mom and dad cheered me on and traveled with me across the United States twirling. I realized that growing up most of the attention was on me. I was the middle child and the only girl. My older brother, Brad, is 10 years older than me and Matt is 16 months younger than me. I took them for granted. It is that plain and that simple.
Brad sacrificed more than anyone and he still does. Brad was more of a father figure growing up and as I became older, our relationship as turned into a close friendship. Brad and I have this ongoing joke that I can rob a bank as long as Brad is with me and it would be perfectly okay in our mothers eyes because Brad would be with me. He has always been the mature, responsible one. When I was a teenager, he could talk mom into letting me do things and I could go out and do what I pretty much wanted as long as he was with me. I didn't mind having him there because all of my friends were older and he fit in pretty well with everyone.
I can remember vividly the day that mom, Brad and I were shopping at Dillards (when Bellevue still had a mall) when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Brad was a senior in high school and was working at either Baskin Robbins or the putt-putt place. It was a Friday night and mom and I were looking at dresses for pageants (nothing out of the ordinary). I fell in love with a white, off the shoulder, lace dress. Mom did not have the money to buy the dress and was telling me that she would get it later. About that time, Brad came over and said he would buy the dress. WHAT??? The check he got that day couldn't have been much at all...this was back in 1996 and this dress was $100.00. Of course, I had no idea than how the whole money thing worked (I always told mom to just write a check...I didn't think you had to have money to "just write a check"). I was so happy that he bought me the dress and I wore it in the very next pageant I competed in. This is the type of thing that Brad does. He is the most sincere person that I know and he would go above and beyond for me and Matt.
I can honestly sit here and say that I am the luckiest sister in the world. I have not 1, but 2 amazing brothers. We all have had our fair share of fights, but I can tell you this right now...I WILL NEVER take them for granted again. You never know how much time you have together. Matt has taught me this throughout his service in the ARMY. Life is short and family is really all you have. God has truly blessed me with the brothers that I have and I would not trade them for anything.