The older – and supposedly more mature – they get, the more opportunities Thing1 and Thing2 seem to find to argue. They argue over who’s crossed the line in the middle of the back seat. They argue over who’s spent more time on their computer. If someone asked them what color of the sky on a sunny day, they would argue over that. I’m not throwing stones here – my sister and I argued full-time right up until we moved out of our parents’ house so that they could only experience sibling un-rivalry from afar, but the crazy thing is, for Thing1 and Thing2, it wasn’t always that way..
Thing1 spend most of his fourth and fifth years begging us for a little brother, and we spent most of those years trying to at least meet him halfway (he happily ignored our warning that he could end up with a sister). When Thing2 entered the picture, he was almost happier than we were. Thing1didn’t just want to hold his baby brother, he wanted to read to him. He was there to make sure Mom didn’t pick out a lame first Halloween costume, and the protectiveness didn’t stop when Thing2 got older. From giving his little brother courage on Trick-or-Treat night to helping out with Thing2’s T-Ball team. Nowadays, however, there are more than a few nights when we have to remind Thing1 and Thing2 that they actually love each other. There’s even a few nights when we have to remind ourselves of it.
Thing2 has been having a tough time at school recently. Most nights the dinner conversation turns to talk of a child who has been needling him for sometime and whose antic seem to affect Thing2 much more against the backdrop of the death of his teacher earlier this year and a subsequently more chaotic classroom. Last night our discussion about Thing2’s experience and resulting behavior came to a head at the dinner table.
Thing1 listened quietly as we tried to get his little brother to open up and reiterate our expectations and unconditional support. Thing2 cried and talked and cried a little more. Dinner ended and we retreated to the couch. Thing1 got up to clear his plate and patted his brother on the back.
“I wish I could go to school with you tomorrow,” he said in a low voice. Thing2 squirmed in his chair, turning to bestow a smile on his brother before wrapping his arms around his waist. It was quiet at the table for a minute then, as our boys inadvertently reminded us how they really do feel about each other.
Thing1 was still balancing his plate as the hug quickly went from sincere and sweet to a test of Thing2’s squeezing ability, and the moment was over. They’ll find something new to argue about this morning, and they’ll forget that moment. But it did happen.