The Protector

“Your siblings are the only people in the world who know what it’s like to have been brought up the way you were. So the greatest gift our parents gave us was each other.” My sister in law is one of the most reserved people I know, none the less, her love and loyalty for her brother has no bounds. I can see the amount of respect and heart she has for him.

As he left for the first day, she was worried and concerned for how he felt. She thought about how he wouldn’t have anyone to lean on and she knew the next few days would be in solemn. The family atmosphere and dynamic was very different the day he left since he was the first to leave the nest. As his big sister, she always watched over him and packed his backpack whenever he went to school. She was his protector so to let him go was very hard for her. She knew he had to grow and so she felt her sister role was put at a halt.

The things she did to cope with her brother being in bootcamp were to constantly go to work, buy a therapy cat, and try to be there for her parents as much as she could. She didn’t have time to think about her own feelings, she didn’t want to think about how it felt like she couldn’t breathe. She’d never been apart from her brother before, so this was huge change for her. Still, she knew in times of hardship, it wasn’t the time to be selfish. She had to let him go fulfill his dreams. Despite her feelings of sadness, there was a silver lining during bootcamp. His letters to her allowed them to rekindle their relationship. Those letters helped her breathe again and reassured her that he was doing okay. They were able to heal old wounds they’ve had in their relationship. She realized how important it was to have each other.

Her advices to other sisters out there are to let go of trying to be the second parent and that you can’t fix everything. Being in the military lifestyle, many of the choices are out of your control. Always be there to support your sibling, but don’t let your selfish feelings get in the way of the things your sibling wants to pursue. When they are home, spend time with them as much as possible. Always make right from wrongs and above all else, love and support them unconditionally.

Being a sibling of a military member, she knows she will never truly understand the inside world of the military. She knows that perspective is everything and that whenever she goes through her own hardships, she thinks about how there are others out there that have it much worse. It makes her appreciate the moments when her brother is home. She is proud of him and has a tremendous amount of respect because she knows that she could never be able to do what he does. With time, she dealt with the emotions better and as much as she worried about him, she had faith that he was safe. Her little brother has grown to become a great man. It never gets easier, but her love will always be greater.

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