Monday, April 24, 2006

He's All Growed Up.

My dad and my little brother flew out to Colorado Springs the other day for my brother's orientation at the United States Air Force Academy, where he'll be a cadet in the Class of 2010 this fall. Don't get me wrong, I'm immensely proud of my brother and all of his accomplishments, and it's been kind of neat watching him grow up from a pesky little brat into a mature and charismatic young adult.

I am, however, terrified. Although he is guaranteed to be in school for four years (meaning, they won't pull him out of school to go overseas), I'm so scared for my little brother. And I'm afraid to see the person who comes home for Thanksgiving; I am afraid they are going to break his beautiful and unique spirit, and turn him into a narrow-minded and obedient yes-man. I am afraid that his college experience will be one that narrows his horizons, rather than broadens them. And I am afraid that he was forced to choose his career at much too young of an age.

He called me the other day to get my street address. Then he told me he'd designated me his beneficiary for his death benefits. Talk about a sobering moment: An 18-year-old forced to ponder his mortality in a very real and concrete way.

I just hope that he is happy with his decision and that the AFA proves to be all he'd hoped it to be.

On the plus side, there is excellent skiing an hour away and his local host family has already said we're welcome to stay with them. I told him to plan on hitting the slopes with me for a couple of days during the beginning of his Christmas leave. At least he picked a school in a location that I'd definitely visit. If he'd chosen, say, Iowa, he'd be shit outta luck, and so would I.

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