I wrote this on my brother’s birthday six years ago, which also happened to be the last day I saw my nephew well. I knew everything was changing, but I miscalculated badly.
Today, on what would be Andy’s 24th birthday, I remember letting him go the first and least painful time.
To Andy with Love
- Originally posted on a 6s community, June 7, 2010 at 9:34pm
I bade farewell with hugs and admonitions to my eldest nephew tonight after sharing pizza and brownie bites.
He said, “I give up my free will tomorrow,” and I know this has been a calculated decision, but I struggle to understand it when he says things like that.
It’s like the rest of us – his family – saying we’ll send three letters a week, perfumed and lipsticked, or we’ll send tobacco, or we’ll send a hundred cards for his eighteenth birthday he’ll have while away; he smirked a thanks-a-lot-guys-I-love-you-too, knowing we’d never hurt him for anything but struggling, perhaps, to understand his pestersome relatives.
We all face the apprehension of his first wingspan. We have waited and wanted and prepared and taught and laughed and disciplined and loved; yet, the moment of first flight crept in on cat feet.
This was going to be a post about the insanity of calling military training ‘boot camp’ (as if S’mores were involved!) or ‘basic training’ (I’m 32, and I’ve never been trained in what he’s about to experience), but as you can see, I needed rather to reflect on the man he became when I wasn’t looking and to consider the weed-like speed with which my own children grow and to catch my breath before I greet another ‘last’.