Hi, my name is Sina Pritchard – David and Kelli’s second youngest daughter and number eight of the Pritchard kids. I’m getting ready to finish my freshman year of high school. Even more significant; in exactly 20 days one of my best friends (and older brother) Keila, is heading off to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
I’m filled with so many emotions as we prepare to send off the graduate and soon to be cadet. I am extremely proud and excited but also sad to see him move 2,894 miles away from home. I want to share with you the three things I’m going to miss most about my brother.
1) We argue. We argue a lot. This may sound funny as something I am going to miss. Maybe there is a better word to use than argue. But if you spent time around Keila and me, you’d know we developed strong opinions about many topics at an early age. My parents blame it on growing up the youngest two in a large family. Often these opinions do not completely coincide, and this is where the argument part comes in. My older sister likes to say we act the most “our age” when we’re together. Most of the time, we are considered pretty mature but we tend to bring out the child-like attributes in each other. These arguments are usually pointless and we end up having to agree to disagree. But my older brother is one of the most intelligent and logical people I have ever met. Those intellectual conversations have stretched my thinking and taught me respectful tactics when debating and disagreeing with someone. I am very grateful for the life lesson.
2) Like father. Like son. There aren’t many people in this world I can say are like my father (mostly because those are some huge shoes to fill ). I consider Keila one of those people. They have so many similar characteristics and attributes (like the way they twist their neck when they’re frustrated!). But what I most appreciate is their ability to share wisdom and guidance while showering love and grace on a person; an outstanding quality I will miss. It will be hard to get used to not having him across the hall to ask for advice; knowing I could trust getting an honest and loving answer.
3) Footsteps to follow. Now when I say I’m going to miss his “footsteps to follow” I don’t mean following him to West Point (I can assure you that won’t be happening). I am going to miss the way Keila very intentionally lived life for one reason and one reason only; for the glory of Jesus Christ. Many times Keila and I were compared to and known as, the younger brother or sister of our older siblings. We got used to it. Mostly it was a wonderful thing. We loved that so many people were fond of our big sister or big brother. There were times though it felt like people looked down on us because we weren’t exactly like our siblings. Like they were disappointed we weren’t good at the same things or the athletes the older ones were. When I was younger I really struggled with this. It’s hard to be compared and even harder when it’s to people you know and love. In middle school I finally started to get over this and a huge reason was Keila. He is perfectly okay marching to the beat of his own drum. It was Keila who decided to pursue West Point instead of a typical university to play football, it was Keila who decided to be on youth council in our city, and it was Keila who decided to not play basketball so he could focus on getting in to West Point. These things may seem small but they were huge to watch as a little sister. Keila took on the world with Jesus as his guide. He didn’t worry what other people thought. I will miss his example in my life each day.
I’m grateful for these past fifteen years growing up with Keila. I know God gave me the big brother I needed. I pray God will continue to bless him in this next chapter of life. What do you most appreciate about your brother or sister?