Hi Al ~ I hope you don't mind that I share pictures of you guys. I just want to express...
Ahh who am I kidding? My brother doesn't read my journal. I imagine he would if he had the time. He's got his hands full. If he's not busy running his business, he's with his family and/or their friends. He could be at a school event, a baseball game, picking someone up from gymnastics, spending time with his wife - my sister-in-law (love her!)
Al and I have always loved each other. I've never doubted that. But we haven't been in close contact. When we were young, four years was a huge gap in age. I started high school when he was still in elementary school. I started college when he started high school. I graduated college when he graduated high school. Different lives. Different interests. Different friends. Today I'm like, "He's only four years younger than me."
I got to see him in a different light this time. It had been seven years (when his daughter was born). He was a young man - still a guy, kinda.
We're older now, with more life experience. We've both grown. Well, he's grown - I've shrunk. We're two different people today than we were the last time we saw each other. And I adore this man. ["man" - tickles me because I still see him as a little 8-year-old in feety pajamas, slurping chocolate milk through a straw.]
Then I remember he's a dad. A DAD! And a GOOD dad at that. I don't even know where to begin there. Trying to absorb and digest his life in just a few days was damn-near impossible. The time we did share will be treasured forever.
He has endearing nicknames for his kids. Ohhhh his kids, my niece and nephew. My heart fills and my eyes water when I think of them. I'm mush for the kids. And I love his wife - strong, intelligent, personable, and an incredible mom.
I can't forget their dogs! So appropriate for the family- two beautiful American Bulldogs (right Cheryl? American Bulldogs?) One is such a lover, he rolls on his back while crawling to anyone coming to pet him. The other will knock over the china cabinet to scurry away from new people. It didn't take long for Beth's daughter and Cheryl to win him over. I came in a close third at gaining his trust.
Al, on the off-chance that you are reading my journal...
I'm so in love with your family. I can hardly stand being 3000 miles away. Thank you for all that you did for me while I was in town. The love you have for your children, your wife, your friends and our family is a blessing. I feel honored to be part of your life.
You're an inspiration. It amazes me that we came from the same family. You, a military-man. Me, a freeepeace. We may not agree with, or understand each other's choices. But there's one commonality we share today - RESPECT. Add that to the love that's always been there and we've got ourselves a real good thing here!
I miss you already. You're always in my heart - but let's not wait another seven years to hug each other again. Love you...
[and now for a private joke moment]
Ow. Quit it.
I say we let him go.
Goin' to Canada ey?