My brother has been on my mind today. I have been sending him emails updating him on what is happening at home with our family, the kids and me. The usual things, how our friendly house ghost turned on the shower while Grace was soaking her feet, surprising her, and amazing me considering how the knob must be lifted up and she was at least three feet away from it! I tell him how our crazy dogs make us laugh with their latest antics, and how happy his wife seemed at her baby shower. I detail how the girls are doing in their lessons, try to send video of Grace playing the piano and email many pictures so he can feel like he is here with us in spirit.
Some days I go along busy in my own way, aware of his absence but not really focusing on it. Other days like today, I wonder how he is doing, how his men are doing, how their families are holding up. I am amazed at the ease in which we can correspond. He has email. He has called my parents. I did not expect to have any correspondence with him at all. I figured email would be sporadic and phone calls not allowed. When I think of war, I guess I think of desert isolation, tribal nations and the threat of violence. My heart leaps every time I see his name in my inbox! He is on patrol, doing his job, keeping his men safe. He writes of the local people, especially the children, most not able to attend any type of school since the Afghani government stopped paying teachers. He told of dogs, much larger than any of ours (my sister’s is over 100lbs!) that roam the roads. We are eagerly waiting for a picture. Knowing my brother, he will feed one, befriend it and call it his poopsie. Yes, my 6’5” brother calls his dog poopsie.
He said he has gained some of the weight he has lost while in training. The care packages my parents are sending must be supplementing his MREs. Their dining room table is an assembly line of tuna fish, pop tarts, protein drinks, gatorade, granola and m&ms. He said he was appreciative of the New York paper we have been sending, so he can stay on top of what is happening here at home.
Sometimes it just does not seem possible that while I go about my daily life, worrying about the girls, their studies, if my house is clean, if I will be ready for a birthday party on Friday, he is worrying about life and death... and not just his own. We each struggle with our own worries. They are significant because they are our worries. But when I worry over something trivial, like if I will be able to find Harry Potter plates for Grace’s party Friday, I find myself saying "really?" Is this really important enough to worry over? Most often, it is not. Worry is watching for land mines, not party plates. Worry is not having a meal to eat, not if my children will like the meal they are offered. Worry is being in the line of fire, not being late because you were stuck behind a school bus. There are things that justify our worry. And then there are things that clearly do not. Having my brother at war has made that a little clearer for me.