I wrote a letter to my cousin in bootcamp. I’ve taken to writing him every day, I realized I had a captive audience and hope my letters about weather patterns, books, and ideas give him something else to think about as he works long hard hours and listens to the relentless yelling of his instructors.
I’m proud o him, but I was proud of him before he left. He’s a wonderful person and I’m sure he’ll make his way in the world. This is just a hard spot and writing him reminds me of the countless letters I sent to my own brother when he was in bootcamp and serving abroad.
My personal favorite note came from my brother while he was serving in Iraq. I would write him about everything that happened in my day, just a daily drone of what life was like at home, how much I missed him, and what minor inconveniences were frustrating me at the time.
I had apparently written about a copier mauling a report I was supposed to give and having to start all over, the tedium of office life for a young professional. He wrote back about how he completely understood because at his job today he was shot at. He was just going about his business lifting in the yard when he heard a ping off of one of the weights, he finished his reps then realized he was being shot at and had to hit the deck because some sniper was trying to kill him. He made the point that our days were so similar, just two young professionals going to work. The letter was fantastic and I am not doing it justice here, because I remember laugh-crying when I read it. He ended on something like, “if only you could ship the copier here, the the sniper could shoot at that and we could all go back to work.”
Oh, it put my life in perspective. He always does.
I’ve started a new tradition too, when I write my letters to my cousin, I include a postcard with a small note of encouragement for whomever in his barracks did not get a card that day, or maybe never gets a card. Not everyone comes from a big family or from people who write letters but as they are all enduring daily challenges I thought it might be nice to know someone is thinking of you and I do say a little prayer for whomever gets the notes. I hold a space in my heart for the good people who are doing this difficult work, willing to be shot at so that I can comfortably cuss out office equipment in peace.