Heaven and earth must sometimes be moved in order for a mom with little kids to get a few days away. Today that happened and for a very compelling reason. I got to see my one and only brother graduate from basic training with the Marine Corps, in San Diego.
A big smile, a broader posture, and a new confidence greeted us in the form of my baby brother. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were dressing him up in our play costumes? Now he is dressed in uniform and looking good.
My dad’s voice broke as he prayed for our lunch. Life is at a crossroads and all of his five children were present for this special day. A thing to be thankful for. When will this happen again? We won’t think of that today. For now we will simply hold on to this moment, enjoy it completely while it lasts, and then we shall tuck it away deeply into our folder of happy memories.
I’m so glad earth and heaven moved a little, so that I could experience this day with the people I love.
While in San Diego we walked around Old Town in the cool of the evening. Mariachi band music was transported to our ears in the gentle breezes. The range of colorful Mexican paraphernalia was displayed in small shops and beautifully tiled courtyards. Day of the Dead skeletons were everywhere, whimsically arranged with seeming smiles on their faces.
We were hunting for a snack or small meal
and I was intent on finding something authentically ethnic. Someone suggested a sandwich and my heart fell a little. It’s against my religion to eat sandwiches in the heart of an ethnic experience. Thankfully I talked everyone else into splitting some tamales and empanadas that were artfully displayed in a vendor’s beautiful case. The mariachi music continued to grace us while we spooned hot Mexican food into our hungry bellies. A time to relish.
My brother David’s graduation was on an overcast Friday morning. It’s nice having a tall brother. He was easy to spot in the sea of white caps.
Now that I have a brother serving our country, it changes me a little. I have always respected or military and I am very patriotic. But now I feel more vested. And when I think of the men and women serving our country I will now think of my brother and his friends whom I met today.
He will leave for Quantico for intelligence training. We are so proud of him. He has done this hard thing. He has been courageous. He has pledged his time and energy to service. In some ways he is changed but, mostly, my good, kind brother is simply a better and more confident version of himself.
After driving back to Long Beach with my parents, youngest sister, and the new Marine, we let the Marine set the agenda. He deserved it. Right?
Well, The Agenda turned out to be mostly about Food.
He wanted to eat food he had craved for three months. For three months all of his food fantasies had been denied to him. Since his release, he had already ingested pizza, wings, French fries, a soft pretzel and lemonade, Mexican food, and Oreos. What he really wanted for lunch was “Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles,” a greasy joint and allegedly President Obama’s favorite restaurant in town. Folks, this is the anti-Paleo restaurant, in case you were wondering.
I think I will need to eat only fruits, vegetables, and chicken breast for a week to make up for this transgression.
The good news is that we got to walk off some of this heavy food on the shoreline of beautiful Long Beach. People may wonder why I left this place to live in the Midwest. All I have to say is that every place has its pros and cons. Scenery here is pretty awesome, though …