Family In The Military

Aim High, Little Brother

Never in our wildest dreams did we think this was path he would take.

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It may seem implausible to perceive such a milestone from a perspective of uncertainty and pride. However, these last few months have been a tumultuous roller coaster ride of mixed emotions that I have shared with my family and friends.

Was it knowing that communication would be through handwritten letters which were not necessarily guaranteed for the next eight weeks that caused these feelings? Or was it not knowing how he was assimilating to an environment which fosters immediate brotherhood and patriotism over everything else? And in knowing this, how would he change as a person who hasn't yet had the opportunity to vote in a primary election?

All these questions have been brewing since his decision to accept his appointment to the United States Air Force Academy as a cadet.

How was it that overnight, my brother who was previously accepted into the business schools at Boston College, University of Southern California, and the University of Miami, finalized his paperwork for the Air Force Academy, and flew out to Colorado Springs to confirm his future?

Moreover, while this was happening I was in the midst of my final semester of college and was physically, mentally, and too emotionally encumbered by my final exams, papers, and lab reports, to fully understand how his life and my family's life would be affected.

Thus, I was at first scared, confused, and a little alarmed. He had previously never spoken of his aspirations to fly planes or international relations. So how can I be blamed for feeling shocked and completely mystified?

However, within 10 minutes of rereading and analyzing his text on April 7th, 2018 saying, "I have officially committed to the Air Force Academy," I knew despite his extensive list of college offers, that he had chosen the one option that would be the most fulfilling.

As a sister who has grown up with my baby brother attached to the hip from the day he was born, I knew that it wasn't about what my mom, dad, or myself wanted for him. It was about what he wanted. And over these past few weeks of living across the country from him, as he is woken up at 4:30 a.m. six days a week and training to become a future leader of our country, I fully support his unconventional college option.

The amount of mental strength it must take to choose the unbeaten path deserves to be honored.

Cover Image Credit:

Tracey Rosenlicht

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When You Give A Girl A Papa

She'll learn enough lessons to last a lifetime.
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When you give a girl a Papa she'll have the best adventures.

She'll run around atop his shoulders and learn to fly. Her imagination will never run dry and she'll always be down for a laugh. He'll tell her stories and wipe away her tears. When you give a girl a Papa she'll have memories to last her years.

Papa is German for Dad but in America, it has become a slang term for grandpa. And while it is just a word, for some, it has a deeper meaning. Papa isn't just a grandfather, he's a best friend, the instigator of mischief, a protector, a storyteller, a rock, the strongest man you know and, most importantly, a hero.

Papa can turn ordinary, everyday activities into an adventure. From a young age, I was running behind him as quickly as my little legs could carry me ready for that day's adventure. I was always down for anything Papa was doing, following him in his daily chores and mimicking his every move. Cuddling up and watching sports in his lazy chair was my favorite time of the day because he always told the best stories. Sitting there hanging onto every word he said because it was the most important thing I ever heard.

Papa is full of experience and wisdom. His wise words provide comfort every time I am sad. He can always make me laugh to fight the tears away. I'm not sure how, but he always knows what to say to make me feel better. Papa is a fearless force that never bows and is never broken. He can weather all of the storms while smiling and laughing. I can only hope to have that resilience when facing life's problems. And when Papa was struggling with his own battles, I will stand right next to him, ready to fight and do all I can for him.

Papa can do a happy dance via the phone so he is the person to call when something good happens. He is always there to celebrate life and all its joy. And, even though he tried to hide them, he cried happy tears the day of my high school graduation. I pretended not to notice.

Leaving Nana and Papa's house is always the worst part of the trip. Driving away waving my hand in the air with tears welling in my eyes because I can't wait for the next adventure. Disappointing Papa was the scariest thing you I could think of, but I knew that he would never stay that way for long. There was always a lesson to learn from mistakes.

He is the man I model all men after. If they don't treat me the way Papa demonstrated, they are not worthy of my time. If they don't make me laugh or have that twinkle of passion in their eyes and fire in their soul like my Papa, then they aren't the man for me.

Papa is my hero. I would give anything to be like him, to stand strong and hold the world together when it just wants to fall apart. To be able to make anyone laugh and feel right at home. To fight for what I believe in and work hard to achieve my goals. To have charisma and charm. To deal with people who wrong me with class and kindness. To follow my faith with questions because that is the only way to make your beliefs stronger. To be the person everyone speaks of with a fond memory in their eye.

At the end of it all, he is my Papa and no one can take his place. I can and will drop anything to be by his side. He has shaped me into the person that I am working to be. I will always call him for advice and kind words.

Best friends come in many forms, but my favorite will always be my Papa.

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Goddard

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Living As A Twin Has Its Ups And Downs, But I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

The bond that twins have is one of the strongest bonds to exist.

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I get this question on a daily basis: "What is it like having a twin?" To me, this question is almost as common as someone asking, "How are you?" I always have the same answer every time. My answer is that I don't know any different, so to me, it's just as weird that they don't have a twin. Everything I've learned and experienced was with her, so that was all I knew. I wonder from time to time what it would be like to have been born without a twin, but I feel like that would've just made my life less interesting. However, having a twin does have its ups and downs.

Being a twin can be difficult at times. I like to describe it as having a shadow that is always by your side or behind you. It can feel as if you aren't your own person because everyone refers to you as one of the twins, never just as you. That aspect can get annoying real fast. Sometimes you just want to be your own person and you feel like you cant be. However, college is one thing that helped me with that part of my life because it allowed me to have many more resources to get involved with things I was interested in, not things we were both interested in.

One thing I can say is that having a twin has way more positives than negatives. It's like a built-in friend, a wombmate if you will. When she makes a friend, I make a friend. When she wants to shop, I get to shop. When she has a problem, I try to fix the problem. The bond twins have is hard to explain, but its one of the strongest bonds I believe exists. This person is with you from the very beginning of your life and understands parts of you that others don't even notice.

As time goes by looking back on it obviously there have been times when I wondered if I would be better off without a twin, but I know I wouldn't be. The older I get the more grateful I am that I have a twin because we are at the stage of our lives where many different things are happening and live in different places. Having a twin makes it just a little easier to get through the rough days because you know you have a permanent friend.

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