Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little miracles in all shapes and sizes

The funny thing about this picture is that one-year-old Brooklyn is wearing a onesie that I picked out as a possible coming-home-from-the-hospital newborn outfit. It has little baby handprints on it and says "little miracle...tiny little hands." There is a hat with the same little graphic on it too. Anyway, I was shopping one day while big and pregnant and found this little outfit. I thought it was so cute...I love anything with baby handprints or footprints. I held the onesie over my belly and thought about how I couldn't wait to meet my little girl.

I thought that I was so organized and well-prepared; Brooklyn's closet and dresser drawers were filled with adorable weather-appropriate clothes for each season - springtime 0-3 month outfits, summery 3-6, fall time 6-9, warm wintery 9-12 month clothes. I added the freshly-washed "little miracle" onesie to the neatly folded stacks of clothes in her top dresser drawer.

All babies come out wearing size 0-3 months, right??? I mean, they ARE 0 months old! Come on, it makes perfect sense! The clothes tell you right there on the label how big your baby will be at each age! How smart of them!
I did not realize at that time that babies came in all sizes!

Silly me. I learned that you can't be prepared for everything! My baby girl came home from the hospital with practically nothing to wear! I had one package of Newborn size kimono-style shirts that she wore until we went shopping for Preemie clothes when she was 4 days old. She wore Preemie clothes for 2 months, then size Newborn for another 3 1/2 months. The nice part of this was I got to buy lots more baby clothes because she needed a wardrobe that would actually fit her!

Another cool thing is that not all of her clothes have ended up being the wrong season, as evidenced by my one year old wearing the 0-3 month onesie in the picture up there. It is getting warm outside and Brooklyn can now wear most of her summery 3-6 month outfits. Same season, just a year later than I thought we would use them. :)

(Oh, and by the way, a friend later talked me into choosing a more "formal" coming-home outfit for Brooklyn, a beautiful pink flowered little dress, size Newborn. Which was actually a good thing, since the above outfit obviously would have completely swallowed my brand-new Tiny One.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One year well visit

Here are Brooklyn's stats for her one year check up:

Weight - 16 pounds, 7.5 ounces (below 3rd percentile)
Length - 27 inches (below 3rd percentile)

However, Dr. A said that he is no longer worried about Brooklyn's growth the way he was last year. He said that she is staying on her own curve, and is gaining weight. So for her, this is okay. This is progress. He wanted to call it 3rd percentile, just to reassure me that Brooklyn is okay, I think, even though she is still about 2 squares below 3rd percentile on the chart. But Dr. A says we are moving in the right direction and that it is good.

Dr. A was VERY happy that Brooklyn is crawling, pulling up, and cruising. He said that about 15-20% of kids with no medical issues aren't doing all of that at her age. He said that at our last visit, he was concerned that Brooklyn might need physical therapy soon because she was lagging pretty far behind in her motor development. But now he is very happy with where she is at. Yay Baby Bear!

He looked in her mouth and said that ALL of her top teeth are about to pop through. I don't know whether this means 4 or 6 teeth....but she is definitely drooly and cranky and chewing on everything! She only has her 2 bottom teeth right now, so that will be a big change! She has a slight "head tilt" - where she always leans her head to one side a bit. This may be due to the head flattening from having to sleep in her car seat for so many months. Dr. A doesn't think it is much of anything to worry about right now, and will reevaluate it in 3 months. She may need some physical therapy to correct it if it doesn't fix itself soon. But no big deal.

We will be slowly adding more table foods as Brooklyn gets more teeth and as she can handle them without choking. She still only gets 1 or 2 baby foods a day and very little table foods. Dr. A is okay with that. We are progressing as she can handle it. She gets more calories from her milk anyway, and that is important for her. Once she can get 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies, 1 meat, and some carbs each day, we can replace her formula with whole milk. She is still breastfeeding about half of the time, and I haven't decided when I will try to wean her or if I will just let her continue until she weans herself. All of those teeth that are about to come in may help me make that decision. Eeek!

Now that we are seeing specialists, Dr. A doesn't really have much to do with or say a lot about the laryngomalacia or the reflux. He basically just defers to Dr. R (the gastroenterologist) and Dr. G2 (the pulmonologist). So he didn't say much of anything about those matters, except to make sure all of Brooklyn's meds were the same (yes), ask when our next appointments were (next week), and ask whether we knew if Brooklyn was going to have to have surgery (we don't know yet.)

Brooklyn had to get 3 shots. Poor Baby Bear. She was already tired and this made her very unhappy. She will have her *LAST* Synagis shot this Friday. I know she will be glad to be done with that. But the shots have served her well....we have stayed clear of RSV this year, thank God!!!

Dr A. said,"This is the first visit where I can say Brooklyn is doing well. I feel comfortable saying that for the first time. I'm very pleased. No 'but's' about it this time. Once she can get her malacia and reflux issues behind her, she'll be great. I want you to walk out of here feeling really good about this visit."

We took his advice! :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yes, it can get worse

Last Friday night, my parents finally were able to talk to my baby brother a couple of days after he tried to kill himself by intentionally wrecking his car. He was very remorseful about the whole situation and seemed to have come to his senses. He told my mom that he didn't know why he had done what he did. He said that he knew that he needed to grow up. He had talked to a psychiatrist and a chaplain on base and knew he needed to get his life back together. He told my mom that he wasn't thinking about how much his actions hurt people that loved him, and apologized to my mom and dad for everything that had been going on lately. He was going to get his life back on track, he said.

My mom called me and told me about her conversation with my brother. "He sounds really good," she said. "He says he's going to call you tonight after he gets done with his extra duty. He says he knows he has hurt you too, and he wants to apologize. When he calls you, will you please listen to him and just talk to him?" I told her that of course I would talk to him.

I waited, but I never heard from him.

On Wednesday, my mom said that she needed to talk to me about my brother. She said that she had found out something on Tuesday, but didn't want to tell me then because it was Brooklyn's birthday. My little brother had attempted suicide again on Monday night by overdosing on pain pills, muscle relaxants, and psych meds. Apparently he took about 70 pills. Tuesday morning, he did not report for duty. They went into the barracks and found him in his room. His pulse was thready, he was not breathing well, and they could not wake him. They took him to the emergency room, and now he is in a psychiatric hospital at a nearby Army base.

He had left a suicide note. Part of the note said that he loved our parents very much and that he was sorry, but that he did not want to put them through everything that they had already been through with our other brother. That makes me so angry. Probably not the emotion I should feel...but come on...if you don't want them to go through all of that again, then don't do the same damn things that our other brother did! Quit with the drugs, quit hurting yourself and everyone who loves you. How the fuck is killing yourself the answer? How is that going to hurt anyone less? I don't get it. It's so damn selfish, and so stupid, and such a waste, and so sad. There is so much that I want to say to him, yet somehow there is absolutely nothing that I can say.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Brooklyn!

Dear Brooklyn,

Happy first birthday, my sweet baby! You are one year old today! I write these words with disbelief because this year has passed by us so quickly. We have come so far, been through so much, and learned so many things together.

You are getting to be such a big girl! You can crawl so fast now, pull up to stand, and cruise along the furniture. You clap and wave and reach for what you want. If I leave a room, you follow me to the next room, and I love seeing the delight on your face when you find me!

You talk all of the time, you just don't say many words that we can understand yet. You make tons of different vowel and consonant sounds when you are babbling. Sometimes you and I have conversations that consist of saying "Mmmm!" back and forth to each other at different volumes and with varying inflections. Right now, your vocabulary consists of "Mama", "Dada", "Hi", "Hey", and "Bye". Yesterday, you said "Bye" for the first time and waved to your Daddy when he left for work.

During the past couple of weeks, you have really started to love story time. Sometimes you sit on the floor and look at all the pages in your books. You bring me your favorite books, sometimes two at a time! I pick you up and you lay back against me and we read your books. Tonight, you even turned the pages for me! When the story ends and I close the book, you take it and hand it back to me, and we read it again. The other day, we read one of your Baby Einstein books 15 times! You picked it out of a pile of other books each time, so I know it is special to you. Sometimes you "read" along with me, talking in your own language the entire time I'm reading to you. You are so smart, and I am so happy that you love your books now. It's yet another excuse for me to cuddle with you, and I will take all of those I can get!

You have a love for music. You dance, clap, and bounce when you hear music, even if it is just a song on a commercial. I can tell that you can feel rhythms and beats. You love all of your musical toys. Sometimes my CD's will calm you down if you get upset when we're riding in the car. You cheer and clap and raise your hands in the air with excitement when we watch American Idol. Lately, you have been "singing" along with your toys that play music. It's the cutest thing ever.

A few weeks ago, your doctors said that we could start slowly giving you some soft table foods. We have given you mashed potatoes, oatmeal, banana, yogurt, Gerber puffs, and little tiny bites of biscuit. You love it all. We put apples, oranges, tangelos, and peaches in your mesh feeder, and you devour all of the juice you can get out of the fruit. You are such a good eater so far! Once we can get you past the medical problems that make you choke so easily, and once you get more teeth, you will be able to eat so much more, and that will be so much fun. Since we started giving you food, there have only been two that you didn't like: peas and a chicken baby food mix. No picky babies here!

You are an extremely social baby! You love going anywhere that you can people-watch. Going anywhere with you is an adventure, whether it's to the grocery store or the zoo or dinner with friends. You smile and wave at everyone. Your gummy grin is the prettiest sight ever. I love watching you light up the faces of total strangers; they call you "charismatic", "friendly", "precious", "happy", and "sweet." If they only knew how true all of those words are! Not to mention all the people who stop us in public to say that you are "beautiful", "adorable", "pretty", and "gorgeous." Of course, your Daddy and I agree with those desciptions as well!

You look so different than you did when we first met you one year ago. Your hair has changed from downy baby fuzz to silky blonde big girl hair. It has grown long enough for me to give you a teeny little ponytail on top of your head. You are tiny and petite, but your arms and legs, which were so skinny at birth, now have an adorable layer of baby chubbiness covering them. You are so small for your age, but perfectly proportionate. You have the softest, squishiest, rosy-colored baby cheeks, which I could (and do!) kiss about a thousand times a day. Your blue eyes are the color of a clear, cloudless sky, with your daddy's lovely long lashes framing them. You have beautiful, milky white skin, and it is the smoothest texture my hands have ever touched. Your tiny lips are a perfect pink bow. You have two itty bitty white teeth that I can see when you laugh. When you were born, you were the most beautiful sight that I had ever beheld, and you have only become more beautiful with each passing day.

Brooklyn, you have not had the easiest first year. There have been many doctors, specialists, tests, procedures, a hospitalization, and a surgery. You have had to deal with lots of medications, that dreaded nebulizer, and plenty of shots. We have had feeding and weight gain problems all along, and we have had to feed you lots of different ways, adjust your caloric intake many times, and go for tons of weight checks. We have known about your reflux for a long time. It took many months to find out that laryngomalacia and your arytenoids were the cause of your breathing problems. We are still waiting to see whether you will have to have surgery to correct these problems. Through all of the worry and stress and fear we have endured as we have navigated this medical maze, you have been my little hero. You are so brave and strong and resilient. You amaze me, Baby Bear. You are so much tougher than anyone would ever imagine. Your bravery is greater than your delicate little body can contain. I want to be more like you...to be able to look at obstacles that are so big and scary and painful and just take them in stride. To adapt to hardships and gracefully move on like they are nothing. You are such an incredible little girl.

And there are so many things that words just can’t describe. Words never seem beautiful enough to say how my heart flutters when you smile at me. How my world becomes perfect when you lay your head on my shoulder, hold on to me and snuggle in to my chest. I can’t verbalize the beauty of your eyes or how wonderful it feels when those eyes find me and light up. There is not a word that can explain how delicious it was to hear you say "Mama" as your first word. Our language fails me when I try to describe the sweetness of your little voice when you babble and coo and laugh for me.

Brooklyn, you have changed me forever. In a way, this year has gone by so quickly. It is hard for me to comprehend that I have been your mommy for an entire year. Yet I can barely remember what my life was like before there was you. I know it wasn't this beautiful. It was never this meaningful. I have never loved this deeply or been so connected to another human being. I have never had to be so selfless. But now, it comes so naturally to put you before everything else. You are my heart, you are the air I breathe. You are everything.

Baby Bear, you are the greatest accomplishment I have could ever achieve on this earth. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You are the most incredible, special gift. I have wanted you forever, and now you are here with me and it is almost too wonderful to believe. I cannot thank God enough times for gracing my life with you. You are the best parts of your Daddy and I, yet you are so much your own little person. Thank you for being who you are. I am so, so proud to call you my daughter. Please don't grow up too fast. Please always make time to snuggle with mommy. Please always love me as much as I love you. I promise to be the best mommy I can for you. You deserve the best of everything in this world. I want to give it all to you.

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. You will always be my beautiful little Baby Bear. Happy birthday, my sweet one year old girl.


A year in 15 pictures....look how far we've come!

A few minutes old

Brand new baby girl

Just home from the hospital

1 month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

And today.....ONE YEAR OLD!!!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Brooklyn's birth story

Brooklyn will be ONE(!!!!!) tomorrow! Since today marks one year since I went into labor with her, and since I didn't have this blog back then, I thought I would post her birth story here. I wrote this when Brooklyn was about a week old.


I am a mommy now! Brooklyn Lillyann arrived on March 10, 2008, at 3:55 a.m., exactly three weeks early.

On March 6, we went to the OB for my 36 week visit, and she told us that I was 2 1/2 centimeters dilated and 75% effaced. She said that her best guess was that the baby would come around 38 weeks.

Everyone thought it would be cool if Brooklyn was born on March 9th. See, my birthday is September 9th, Dave’s is December 9th, and we were married on April 9th. The 9th was also my 37 week mark. I had been praying that Brooklyn would hang in there until 37 weeks because at that point, she would be considered "full-term" and her lungs would be mature before she was born. I had been having a lot of contractions for weeks, and my contractions on March 9th (Sunday) seemed like nothing out of the ordinary. Dave was at work, and my mom came over. We walked the dogs around the neighborhood at about 6:45 p.m.

We got back to the house around 7:30. Soon after, I began having a lot of contractions. I began keeping track of them at about 8:10. They weren’t more painful than they had been lately, but it seemed like I wasn’t getting much of a break between them. I called Labor & Delivery at about 9:00, and a nurse told me that I just needed to drink water, lay down, take some Tylenol, etc. She didn’t seem to think that I was going into labor, but something didn’t feel right. Something was just different about these contractions.

My mom left my house at about 9:50 to go pick up my little brother from work. She kept offering to stay, but I told her that I would call her if I needed her. Within 10 minutes of her leaving, I was in a lot of pain because the contractions just wouldn’t let up. They were from 4 to 6 minutes apart, but it didn’t feel like my uterus was relaxing in between. I called Dave. He had arrested someone and was at the jail booking them in. I started crying when I tried to tell him how much I was hurting. He told me to call our OB and see what they wanted to do. My OB, Dr. K, was out of town, and one of her partners, Dr. W, called me back. She said to come to the hospital and they would monitor me to see whether or not I was in labor. I called Dave back, and he said that he would be home as soon as he could.

While I was waiting for Dave, I decided that I needed to take a shower and shave my legs (haha). I kept contracting a lot while I was showering. I caressed and cradled my belly and realized that this could be one of the last times that I could do that with Brooklyn in my tummy. I really felt like these contractions were the real thing, but it was so surreal. And I was scared. Scared of how much this might hurt, scared of how much everything was about to change, scared of how I would be as a mommy. And I started to cry. I cried hard. I stood with my head leaning against the shower wall, sobbing out loud. The water rained over me, wrapping its arms around me and washing my tears away. I got out feeling a little bit better and a little bit calmer.

It took Dave about 40 minutes to get home, and the contractions had been getting more intense during that time. Dave came straight from work in his patrol car. He used his lights and sirens to skip all the traffic lights on the way to the hospital, LOL. The last 5 minutes or so of the car ride felt like I was having one nonstop contraction.

We got to the hospital at 11:15 p.m. and were checked in through the emergency room. A nurse came and took us to labor and delivery. I was glad she brought a wheelchair, because I was having a hard time standing or walking by then. The nurse took us to our room and had me change into a hospital gown. About midnight, another nurse came and hooked me up to the contraction monitors. By that time, my contractions were about 3 - 3 1/2 minutes apart and were hurting really, really bad. The nurse checked me and said that I was between 2 and 3 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. She said that I would be checked again in an hour to see if I had progressed. I couldn’t have any pain medication because Brooklyn’s heart rate was low initially and the doctor wanted to wait and make sure she was okay.

That was a painful hour, but it actually went by pretty quickly. I was getting less than one minute to catch my breath in between contractions. My mom and little brother came to the hospital around that time. At 1:00 a.m., the nurse checked me again, and said that I was dilated to 4 centimeters. This meant that I was in active labor. She asked if I wanted an epidural; I told her that I did, but didn’t want to slow my labor down. She said that if I got the epidural now, I was far enough along that it shouldn’t slow my progress. I agreed to it. The anesthesiologist arrived at about 1:30 a.m. I was having to sit on the side of the bed while he got ready to give me the epidural, which it hurt so bad to do. The contractions felt like they were ripping me in half, and I had less than 30 seconds in between them (which isn’t even enough time to start breathing normally again.) I remember that the anesthesiologist was telling me the risks of the procedure, and I couldn’t even listen to him. I didn’t care. I was crying and begging everyone, "please, please help me!" I had been worried that the epidural would be painful, but I honestly didn’t even feel it. The medicine kicked in a little after 2:00 a.m. It was WONDERFUL. There was just one spot on my left side that didn’t numb, and I could feel the contractions there, and they radiated down my left thigh. But that was soooo much better than how I had been feeling before, it wasn’t a big deal. The nurse checked me then and said that I had dilated to 7 centimeters! Wow!!! We couldn’t believe how fast my labor was progessing! The nurses were surprised too, because long labors are expected with your first baby! They told me that if I hadn't gotten the epidural when I did, there wouldn't have been time for me to have one.

Dave put in a "Friends" DVD, I texted some friends to tell them what was going on, and put my hair in a ponytail. I felt much, much better.

At 2:45 a.m., the nurse came back, checked me, and said that I was COMPLETE! I was 10centimeters, 100% effaced, and the baby was at +1 station. We were shocked! The nurse went and called Dr. W and said that we were about to start pushing. I could tell that if I hadn’t had the epidural, I would have had an uncontrollable urge to push, because there was so much pressure.

Dr. W got to my room at 3:10 a.m. I started pushing then. They said that I was doing it perfectly, and told me that I was making all of my pushes really count, especially the last one for each contraction. They actually had to break my water after I started pushing. There was a ton of pressure, and it was really hard work, but there was really no pain. Epidurals are amazing. Dave and my mom were with me and were so supportive and wonderful. Brooklyn was born at 3:55 a.m. on March 10, 2008, after only 45 minutes of pushing!!!

They put her on my belly and Dave cut her cord. She was so little! She had this tiny, pitiful little cry, but she cried a lot. She sounded like a baby kitten. It was the most wonderful sound. She had a head full of hair and turned pink quickly!

My baby girl weighed in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 18 1/2 inches long. She has big dark blue eyes and soft, fuzzy, dark blonde hair. The nurses kept calling her a little "peanut." :) We named her Brooklyn Lillyann. Her middle name is a combination of both of my grandmother’s names, Lillie and Ann.

Childbirth was NOT nearly as bad as I had scared myself into thinking it would be. I was terrified, and I shouldn’t have been. I didn’t think that I was strong enough to get through it, and now I am so proud of myself when I think about the experience. Beginning to end, it only lasted 8 hours, and I got the greatest gift in the world for it. I would do it a million times over for her.

I am now a believer in love at first sight. She is the most beautiful, sweet baby I have ever seen. My heart feels like it’s going to explode when I think about how much I love her. I feel like I could do nothing for the rest of my life but tell her I love her, and it wouldn’t be enough. There are absolutely no words to describe it. There is nothing I could ever do in my life that would let me be deserving of such a gorgeous little miracle. Thank God for my beautiful little blessing named Brooklyn. She is the best thing that could ever happen to me. I am so head-over-heels in love.

Bad news

Following my baby brother’s hearing with the Army on Wednesday, we didn’t hear from him. He was not answering his phone and wouldn’t return the text messages I sent him. Wednesday passed by with no word. Then Thursday.

I began to wonder if he really was in jail, like my dream the night before his hearing had suggested. Would anyone call my parents and tell them if this was going on?

Friday morning, my mother called me in tears. My father had called my brother’s sergeant, the one who had informed them of my brother’s failed drug tests and told them of his upcoming hearing. The sergeant said that my brother’s hearing had gone much better than expected. It was decided that he would lose one month of pay instead of two for his first offense, and would be on restriction for 15 days for the second offense. He was not being discharged for the drug use.


Wednesday night, he left the base. Of course, he was on restriction, so he wasn’t supposed to leave at all. From what the sergeant said, my brother was driving his car 35+ mph over the speed limit and hit another car. On purpose. He told the police at the scene that he was trying to kill himself.

My dad initially thought that my brother was in “the psych ward,” but was it turns out, he was being kept on suicide watch on the base instead. So now, he is being discharged. It will take a month or two.

My heart is broken for him. Life will be even harder for him now. And why would he want to take his own life? Why???? I am so sad and afraid. I don’t understand. I don’t really know what else to think or say about it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A year later....

I looked back through my sparsely-updated Myspace blog today and found something that I wrote almost exactly a year ago:

I'm scared! The closer I get to the end of this pregnancy, the more aware I am of how it all has to end. I am terrified of giving birth. I'm scared to death of the pain, contractions, episiotomies, pushing the baby out, tearing, all the possible complications for the baby and for me, and all the gory aftermath of childbirth. And it's going to happen SOON. I do not feel at all ready for this. It's supposed to be easier if you relax, but I don't see any possible way for that to happen.

And then...she won't be in my belly anymore. I know she will be here...but how weird, after 9 months. A friend told me this week, "You're going to miss rubbing that belly." I hadn't really thought about how strange that will be until then. I love feeling her move around inside of me, and it will be kind of sad to not have that anymore!

I'll be a mommy then. Will I do okay? Can I love her enough? I see so many messed up people who had messed up childhoods in my line of work. I am terrified that I will do something wrong and ruin her life. I don't know if I am ready or capable. I just want to do everything right.

I love her so much already. It's hard for me to explain how afraid I am of messing up. It's like as long as she stays inside of me, she is safe, she is innocent, and I can protect her from everything. And as badly as I want to meet her and see her and hold her, it makes me feel better to be able to keep her safe for now. There is so much to look forward to, and yet so much to be afraid of. Such is my nature, I guess. Sigh.

Isn't it amazing how so much changes, yet so much stays the same. You get safely past some of your fears only to have them replaced with new, bigger things to be afraid of.
And some of them stay the same.
It seems so strange to think that this is where I was one year ago. Some days, it seems like yesterday. But when I think of everything we have been through this year and how far we have come, it seems a lifetime ago.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


When I got home from work yesterday, my mother told me that my youngest brother would be having a hearing with his Colonel at 5:30 this morning to determine his future with the Army.

We learned last week that my brother failed two drug tests during the month of January. The levels on the second one were three times higher than the first.

This life cycle of an addict....I cannot understand it. The destructiveness. What seems to be determination to ruin their own lives. My baby brother is different than the brother in between us. He makes huge strides forward and does good. I have such high hopes for him. I know he is smart, sweet, loving and strong (when he isn't using) and I want only good things for him. I know he can have those things, but only if he will forever abandon the drugs. And he always goes back to them. The reality of this crushes those of us close to him, time and again. Why? WHY? Why do you keep doing this to yourself? You should have so much better.

I slept through my alarm this morning. I was not there....I was in the middle of a vivid dream.

In my dream, I am going to Huntsville to interview an inmate there. I park my car and get into a line of people waiting to cross the highway. I am in a line of military personnel. I pass by a military police officer. In front of her stands a small young man wearing a baggy green jail jumpsuit. He is handcuffed and leg ironed. He stands slumped over, defeated, and I can’t see his face. I end up standing in front of a drill sergeant and we begin to walk across the highway. I begin hearing the military police officer repeatedly say my little brother’s last name. I turn to the drill sergeant and implore him: "Please...I’m his sister...we haven’t heard anything from him and we know his hearing was this morning. Can you please tell me what happened?"

The drill sergeant gives me a confused look and motions towards the slumped over young man in the jail jumpsuit. I take a closer look at the man.

It’s my brother.

I ask him what happened. He says he is going to a military prison for two years. The tears ensue from both he and I. I walk alongside him until we get inside prison walls. I hug him goodbye and tell him I love him and to be strong.

Then I have to tell my family what happened. More tears from everyone.

I don't know if military prison is even an option in his situation. He will probably be kicked out of the Army. Perhaps the bars in my dream represent the way the drugs have trapped him.

I wake up, and it is cloudy and dreary outside. I have this ominous feeling hanging over me. I carry the gravity of the situation on my shoulders like a ton of bricks. I am so sad about the whole thing. I just want him to leave these demons behind him. I do not feel like anything good is going to happen for my baby brother today.

I hope I am wrong. But we all have to live with the decisions we make.
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