Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Sunday, God blessed me with a small glimpse of the future.

I'm talking about the boys playing together: quietly, and happily, for a solid hour.
This is an enormous milestone. Sure, since The Dude started walking 6 months ago, their friendship has been slowly developing. Aquaman is constantly begging The Dude to play with him, and they often do. However, this generally only lasts about 10 minutes and ends in either The Dude throwing trains repeatedly at at his brother's head and himself on the ground while shrieking; or Aquaman turning an unsightly purplish color due to his from-birth habit of breath-holding whenever something doesn't quite go his way. Or even more often, it ends in both.

But JT has recently installed some new dirt in the courtyard. Dirt  that looks to me exactly like sawdust, so that's what we call it. And it did not go unnoticed by my boys, who are the 1st to notice any opportunity to make a gigantic mess. First, Aquaman discovered it with his brand new monster truck.
And then The Dude descended with his shovel.

I pulled up a chair, enjoying the shade and the just-a-touch cooler breeze of the 2nd day of fall, and 5 minutes to sit in the courtyard without The Dude flinging open the gate and heading into traffic.

And then somehow, they were playing together. With no screaming and no required interventions (except to tell Aquaman that if The Dude was bothering him by putting dirt on his head he did have the right to tell him he didn't like that, but as you can see, he actually loved it).

I kept thinking I should go get a book or something, take advantage of these quiet and relaxing moments, but I couldn't stop taking pictures, drinking them in: dreaming of the future, and basking in the present.

The dimples, the curls. The pale whiteness of the elder lightly touching tanned almost-still-baby skin.

Thinking how God knew just what they needed when he made them both. Giving Aquaman a little brother, who is every bit as energetic and rough-and-tumble as he is. Who is quick to laugh and quick to recover but who doesn't just sit back and let himself be ordered around. Who has ideas of his own, but still admires his big brother's.

There are days when I look at Aquaman with just the slightest wistful twinge and wonder if he'll turn out ok despite all the expectations that have been placed on him since the birth of his baby brother.

Responsibilities that he's often not really ready to handle. But then I watch the way he stands up straighter under the weight of it all. The way he rushes to be the 1st one The Dude sees when he wakes up from his nap. And I remember how siblings are some of the most important relationships there are.

The kind of relationships that rub the rough edges off of us and make us easier to get along with. The kind that prepare us for the give and take of marriage, and teach us that people who are different from us aren't wrong- they're just different. Who teach us that some of the happiest moments in our lives are the ones when we let go of our own agendas and play something that someone else wants to play.

Siblings have the ability to incite the greatest of rage, the most terrible jealousy, the elation and sorrow of shared experiences, and the deepest bonds of love; and they better prepare us to deal with a world filled with a vast variety of people, all moving in different ways, but ultimately in the same direction.

And so today, I am celebrating brothers. Brothers who are today and will be someday, and who are learning how to live and love and work and play together.

Brothers who love the outdoors, and getting dirty, and have more energy than 10 border collie puppies. Brothers who are my boys to enjoy and teach and clean up after for just a very short little speck in eternity, and then I will release them out into the world to become whatever they were meant to be.

Who knows who they will end up being? But for today, I'm just glad they were meant to be playing together covered in sawdust. I'm glad they were meant to be brothers.

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