Manicures for Americans

The name of my current nail color is Bittersweet. How ironic. Here I sit on the cusp of this once-in-a-lifetime experience that will prove to be bittersweet, and I went and painted my nails to match. How appropriate. I must state though, that my current situation has proven to be more sweet than bitter. (Although I think my nail color is the opposite mixture, being that it is a grayish-brown…) Many of you who read this may know the reason for my nail color, but others may be waiting with baited breath for the occasion that would require grayish-brown nail color.

My little brother will be inducted to the United States Naval Academy this Thursday. *insert cheers from the reader* This is a big deal for him (obviously) but it is a bigger deal for me. Well, at least a different deal. For him, going off to college at the Academy is the next step in a natural and progressive journey. I envy his situation in the next few days. He will have adrenaline, a competitive spirit, a little anxiety and anxiousness, and LOTS of excitement to pull him through. I, conversely, have memories and a past that hold me down. I have the memories of my little brother wearing my white graduation gown as a Jedi cape as he ran through the woods with a light saber. (It was aptly dyed brown for the occasion) I have memories of my little brother starving for 30 hours with me and serving a spaghetti dinner to benefit children in Malawi, Africa. I have memories of my little brother being little and leading me to his room to show me the newest addition of dirt to his collection. I have memories of my little brother sending me his English papers and asking me to look over them (which was an honor). I guess we both have memories, but mine will be walking across the stage at Annapolis with my little brother while his will be waiting for him at home with his dirt collection, his NDCS basketball jersey, and his plethora of stolen paraphernalia (nothing valuable, mind you). I know it will be hard, but I am anxious to see my little brother become a Midshipman, and I cannot wait for the moment that I get to swell with pride for all he has and will accomplish.

This is all real sweet, but the part that is a little bitter to me is the ending of an era. We (my siblings and I) have all grown up. We have all gone our separate ways.(which, strangely enough, brought most of us to Chattanooga) But, we will never be as we were. I know this is for the best, but my heart still weeps over the ending of childhood. I thank God for his blessings, his direction, his grace, his mercy and his healing power. I thank God for parents that provided me with a childhood that saddens me to truly leave behind. I thank God for moments that are bittersweet and enable me to take the time to say goodbye to the past and hello to the future.

By the time I get back to Chattanooga my nail color will have chipped and faded and so to will the bitterness of this experience. All that will be left will be the sweetness of growing up, moving on, overwhelming pride and the love of family. May God bless you, my little brother.


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