What’s been on my mind lately?
Well, mainly, my little sister. Her name is Ashley and she’s nineteen now. She’s in the army, and now she’s training at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. Before she left, I will be the first to admit that I was worried about her. She was fairly immature in the sense that she was floundering for a good direction to take her life. She liked to hang with her friends, she hated school, and she hated the crappy jobs you have to settle for (generally) without a higher education. She wasn’t a fan of responsibilities. Mostly, I think it’s because she was scared to grow up.
Ashley has always wanted to be a member of the Almighty Armed Forces. When she was twelve years old she wanted to go to Camp Ripley boot camp. For fun. Like it’s totally normal that someone thinks getting screamed at while running around an obstacle course is a blast.
Ash and I have always been close. Granted, when we were younger, we used to beat the shit out of each other silently so that my mom wouldn’t catch us and tell us to knock it off (funny, because as soon as anyone besides me tried to pick on her, I’d set heads to rolling). We are as different as night and day, but it seems to work well for us. So when she left for MO, I was sad to see her go (duh), but I was glad that she had a chance to make something of it. I was nervous because she’d had yet to show any real signs of maturity, but hopeful she’d take what she was going to learn to heart.
We’ve been writing letters back and forth the entire time she’s been in training, and I’m surprised to say that the distance between us has made us closer. Much closer. Before she left, I knew she loved me, but I didn’t know how much she really appreciated my efforts as an older sister and how hard I tried to look out for her. I’d always been supportive of her, no matter what, but I also had to balance that with trying to steer her toward good life decisions.
In her letters, she reports doing very well with the training. She got a score of 211/300 on her first PT test and ran two miles in seventeen minutes. For her second test she scored 275/300 and ran two miles in fifteen minutes (she placed fourth out of like 65 in her company, I believe). She does extra training activities to earn herself phone calls to home. The good news is that because she’s handling things so well, she’s been promoted to a Team Leader. The bad news is that because she’s handling the training so well and scored 275, her next (and final) test has to place her with a score of 300/300.
Ashley will be training until Christmas, when she comes home for two weeks. After the quick home visit, she’ll be off to AIT for another fourteen weeks. Then she’ll come home for another two weeks. Then she’s off for three and a half years of active duty. When it’s all said and done, she’ll be gone from home for about four and a half years. It makes me sad, but I’m proud of her.
Reading her letters has showed major change in my little sister. She’s growing up, and quick. Being an older sibling is tough. It’s a lot of responsibility if you want to take it seriously. But I’m telling you, it’s SO worth it. My little sister is like the right leg to my left leg, and I feel a loss of balance when she’s not around. But I’ve learned that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could never imagine not having Ashley as a sibling. She can be annoying, she can be dumb (sometimes), and she can be a little squirt, but she can also be very supportive, loving, smart (most times), and silly. She’s full of life and vitality, she’s humorous, she’s scared and brave at the same time. She’s learned to step up and be respectful, proud (of herself and the things she can accomplish), and surprisingly humble.
I miss the shit out of my little sister. I love her with my whole heart.
This blog post is dedicated to anyone in the armed forces and to anyone with a sibling, younger or older. I’m sure you can relate, and I give you guys kudos.