The Family has been reeling with some, shall I say, "impacting" news of late. Lovely Wife is the older of 7. The youngest brother, without much discussion, enlisted. He left for San Diego on Monday.
The reaction with the Family has been mixed, and a little strange. I am married into the Family, so I still, even after ten years, have an outsider's sense. The immediate members, LW, her twin and the sisters were all adamantly against enlistment. "Why would you enlist when we are at war?" "What are you thinking...?" Those sorts of questions.
The brothers and uncles, though, have a more jaundiced view: "It will do him good." "He needs direction..." That sort of thing.
So, he was feted over the weekend and shipped off.
We did not go to the fete. In fact, LW cried off and on, mourning her little brother, fearful of how the experience will play out with him. We both acknowledge/understand the current deployment pressures: stop-loss, extended tours, multiple deployments. No one else in the family, though, seems to accept these as facts. "Once Bush is out of office, things will be better." "He will be in Korea, not in Iraq." "Things will be fine."
I don't think our family is unique in this sort of behavior, and I am ambivalent about his enlistment myself. Do I honor service? Yes. My freedoms come at a great cost. Do I think the service our soldiers give is well repaid to them? Not even close (VA neglect, lack of adequate equipment, the list is long and sad). Do I want my brother-in-law in the middle of the current mess? Not in the least.
I will address the "letters to the mothers" tomorrow.