My little sister Brooke made the decision this year to go into the Navy. She worked her butt off getting in shape with a trainer all summer. She had to have her running, situps, and pushups down in particular. It was really inspiring to the rest of us. Mom was doing situps, Dad was practicing his pushups, and I was doing... well, more than usual! One day I decided to do situps with my feet anchored to see how many I could do and then I couldn't cough, laugh, sneeze, or breathe for like a week. hehe
Anyway. Her departure date to head off to boot camp was in September, so for her birthday, we threw a big fat Navy inspired surprise going away birthday party. Mom and I had a blast preparing for it. Everyone else followed suit, and the house was macked out with red, white, and blue pinwheels and banners. The deck was transformed into the deck of a ship with a giant American flag hanging off the back, streamers everywhere. And of course, we had a seafood feast of Maryland blue crabs and a shrimp boil made by Bryan.My father in law made her a banner made up entirely of semafore flags that spelled out "HAPPY 23RD BIRTHDAY BROOKE", each flag drawn by hand and the letter was identified on the back. He must have spent hours, we were all very moved. He also brought his sailor cap and Naval yearbook to put on display at the party.
My mother made her a shadow box of Navy inspired treasures. Oddly, Bryan had redone their kitchen last year and inside the wall was the wooden Navy sign on the lower left side. How ironic. It was perfect in the shadow box.
Mom and I made an American flag cake made entirely of cupcakes topped with either raspberries or blueberries for the colors. It looked rad and tasted amazing!
Her coworkers at the animal hospital all came to the party and signed this lifejacket for her. One of the doctors, Dr. Schwartz, made her this oar and lifejacket. So amazingly thoughtful. They are awesome folks.
Since then, she has completed boot camp and graduated with flying colors on November 6th. Off to Florida to begin her new work on a ship there. It sucks not having her here, but the amount of pride I feel, and I know my family feels over her strength and accomplishments is an unbelievable feeling.