Mikey.

Yesterday I watched my little brother board a plane (well, not really.  I actually watched him go through security [and get stopped because he didn’t take his laptop out and put it in a seperate bin – even though I TOLD him to – OMG how is he going to survive without me to take care of him?!?!] but that sounds more dramatic) to Korea where he will teach English to third graders.

He’s going to be gone for a year.  He’s probably not going to come back home during that time because if I were in Korea, I’d travel every chance I got.  This is the first time he’s been gone longer than a few weeks (He spent a semester in Stephenville when he was a college freshman, but then moved to SWT – where my Dad lived and 15 minutes from my mom.  He also studied abroad for 6 weeks last summer, but he came back.)

He’s 23.  He has graduated college, he’s lived in his own apartment and if the economy sized box of condoms that I found in his suitcase when we were packing are any indication, he’s had sex.  But he’s still my kid brother.  He’s still the kid who couldn’t hold all his cards when we played Uno, so he would build a fort  with videotapes so he could lay them on the floor.  He’s still the kid who sat in my babydoll’s pink high chair wearing a bathing suit and goggles, playing “lifeguard.”  He’s still the kid who used to run away from home to the field behind our house every week.

He’s still the kid who needs me to remind him to cut his tonails and call him to make sure he wakes up for class and buy him beer because he’s a broke college student.  He’s still the kid who eats cereal out of a mixing bowl and who never has food in his apartment.

Except that he’s not.

He’s an adult.  He can drive and drink and tie his own shoes, and he can live in a foreign country where he doesn’t speak the language and is responsible for the education of children.

He’s grown up, but he’s still my kid brother.  And I already miss him.

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