My cousin Jonathan (who is only a couple months older than me) was shipped off to Afghanistan on Sunday — just three weeks after his first son, Gavin, was born. He is going to miss the first six months, and he will be in very dangerous situations overseas . . . I am not thrilled, but I support him and I am preparing a ginormous care package

According to his wife Peggy, and a newspaper article she sent us, they induced labour a week or so early so that he could meet his little boy before going on his six month stint in Kandahar.

Someone (his mom, I think) made a little mini dogtag with Gavin’s name and date of birth as something to attach to Jonathan’s own dogtag, as a charm and as an inspiration . . .

In this article I am linking too (which is based in the area where the Shilo, Manitoba base is) Jonathan expresses excitement and a positive outlook on getting to participate in “the theatre of war”, as he puts it . . . but I know he broke down while talking to my parents the other night, and we know he is scared/sad at the same time. He has been training towards this for a few years now, and the most combative thing he has done to date involved fighting wildfires in B.C. — but this is different.

And I remember, back when we were something lke four years old at an afternoon day care at the YMCA, the two of us playing “I’m the King of the Castle” on this little mountain of blocks and (well, with his strength and my little smart-ass mouth) keeping the other kids at bay!

Hmmm. Mixed emotions here.