Monday, September 24, 2007
My sweet little baby brother is in Iraq.
I haven't written about this because I live in denial, and I enjoy it here. The thought that something bad might happen to him is one that I refuse to entertain in more than a vague, unspoken sort of way. I hate it when people talk about people they know who've been killed in this war because they threaten to burst my safe little bubble and make me face the fact that Zach is in grave danger and there's nothing concrete I can do to protect him.
I was eleven when Zach was born. He was my "first" baby. The first sibling I was old enough to take care of without adult supervision. I fed him rice cereal before he had teeth, changed his diapers, rocked him, loved him. I called him Bubby and he thought it was his name. On the first day of kindergarten his teacher addressed him as Zachary and I can picture him folding his chubby little arms stubbornly and replying defiantly, "I'm not Zachtawy, I'm Bubby!" This reply has entered the realm of family lore.
I watched him grow from a lovable little ball of belly laughs into a shy little boy with glasses; and then watched his baby fat melt into longer limbs and a face-full of whiskers. He came back from boot camp a strong serious young man, but when he grins, the lovable little boy reappears.
I cringed as he told me that his job in Iraq would be to patrol one of the more dangerous roads in a war zone finding and detonating IED's. I wanted to lock him up, keep him safe. I don't want him involved in this stupid war. But he's not a little boy anymore. He's grown into a man that I am incredibly proud of and I have to respect the roads he's taken. I love you, Zach.