A year ago, almost to the day, I wrote about my brother (affectionately nicknamed “Butthead” by yours truly) leaving for Afghanistan. He has eaten, slept, breathed, and lived the Army since high school, starting in the ROTC and transforming from a goofy class clown into a serious soldier before our very eyes. Over 20 years later, he has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other regions of the world I hope to never see.
After his extended, tense, and nerve-wracking deployment to Iraq, we had thought he was home for good. The Army and our government had different plans for him, so he shipped off to Afghanistan for a year.
Every news story and headline about Afghanistan in that year left me with a sinking, uneasy feeling that didn’t fade until I heard from him. My mother, who hates computers and all things requiring the use of technology beyond a rotary phone, proudly learned to use Skype just to check on him, make sure he is eating enough, and then prompty report to the rest of the family that he looks good but isn’t eating enough.
Just a few days ago, my brother let us know he is home…well, at least back at a base in the United States. At least not in Afghanistan!
I am giving him a few days to sleep, eat McDonald’s and get sick (a homecoming ritual for him), and reunite with his wife and son, then I will give him a call and tell him he’s a butthead, tease him, haul out all the silly nicknames he’s acquired throughout the years.
Or maybe I will just tell him I am proud of him and so damn glad he is home.