Proud Navy Sister

This past weekend, I went to Chicago with my sister and my baby brother’s girlfriend. Actually, we weren’t technically in Chicago but somewhere called Waukegan, IL. I’ve been saving and saving for this trip and would not miss it for the world because my little man graduated from Navy boot camp!!

That’s quite an accomplishment. Not everyone completes basic training and I know he worked really hard. In fact, his division won the most awards and was the only division to earn the highest honors!

I knew I would be really proud of him and I also know I’d probably cry….so I didn’t bother putting on any makeup besides eyeliner. I’m so glad I didn’t put on a full face of makeup because I pretty much cried the entire time.

I’m a little afraid of how the pictures are going to look.

A cartoon rendition of my brother and I.
I had stopped crying at this point.

So what made me cry? A lot of things, actually. You see, I raised my brother from when I was 17-almost 21. He was age 7 when I got him and 11 when I left Hawaii for Los Angeles. During the hour+ long ceremony, I remembered :

  • all the good times I had with him
  • all the times I chased him around the house trying to make him do his homework
  • calling the cab at night to take us home because I was worried about being on the bus with him so late at night (it was 8 p.m. Yes, I’m paranoid)
  • waking up in the middle of the night because he had a bad dream
  • making up stories to tell him so that he’d go back to sleep (where was Samuel L. Jackson’s “Go The F*ck To Sleep” when I needed it?! Just kidding.)

I remembered all the promises I made to him and I’ve kept them all. I remember starving for 2 weeks and living off the hot dogs and spam musubis from the pool hall I used to work at so that I could save enough money to buy him the Nintendo Color Game Boy with a Pokemon game.

I remembered crying and prying his little arms off of me when I had to go back to Los Angeles. He wouldn’t let go and I tried to make him understand that I was going to LA so that I could make a better life for myself and for him. I promised him then that no matter where I was in the world, I would always come for him whenever he needed me to.

And I’ve kept that promise.

This was the song I used to play him almost every night.
I told him it would bring him sweet dreams.
I also told him it would chase away all the monsters.
I think it’s now one of his favorite songs.

As I watched him march into the stadium last Friday, I was thinking of the little boy who used to clomp around the living room in my combat boots and my BDU (battle dress uniform). I was in Army JROTC in high school and he showed remarkable interest in the military even at that young age. I think he was….3 or 4. He would sit in the floor of my bedroom and listen to me regale him with the stories of Spring Camp (it was a watered down version of a week of boot camp at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii).

He would also want to eat one of the MREs (Meals Ready to Eat. My favorite was spagetti and meatballs. The chicken ala king was NASTY. So was the turkey ala king. Ugh. Yuck….but it tasted pretty damn good when I was starving. Haa haa haa!). Needless to say, he didn’t like the way it tasted back then. Haa haa haa!

When graduation was over and we made our way over to him, I couldn’t stop crying because I was so proud of him and also because I knew that little boy grew up. He wouldn’t be needing my combat boots or my BDUs anymore because now he has his own. The little boy I knew was no longer standing before me because he was now a little man.

I now have a small taste of what every mom feels like when she watches her children grow up. It is a bittersweet feeling. I now know why my mom tells me it doesn’t matter how old I am because I will always be a little girl in her eyes.

I understand now.

To all the Navy recruits who are now full fledged Navy sailors, congratulations to you and yours from this proud Navy sister. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for us and for our country.

To all the military men and women who serve our country, this proud Navy sister thanks you with all her heart.

5 Responses to “Proud Navy Sister”
  1. grateful says:

    Great entry.

  2. Jin says:

    That was me

  3. Lance says:

    Awesome story. =)

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