Of Brothers and Dragons

I am eight years older than my only brother. To say we have very little in common is putting it lightly. My husband’s sister is also eight years older than he is, though she’s less of a boogerbrain than my brother. These big age gaps played a large part, along with my health, into why we spaced — or didn’t — our boys so close together. They are two years and one week apart.

We imagined them being the best of friends. We envisioned them playing for hours upon end, making up stories and fighting imaginary dragons and living in a land of their own creation. We figured they’d tell each other everything, be as close as close could be.

We maybe forgot that when you’re thisclose to someone all the time, day in and day out, you’re going to fight.

I fought with my brother because he wanted to be with me, be near me, be doing something with me. All the time. I was a tween when that started and, well, I didn’t want that. I wanted my own space, my own time, my own everything. I didn’t want a tag-along. I didn’t want to be bothered with baby things. And so I was probably mean. (I was mean.) I yelled. I slammed doors. I was every inch a preteen and teenage girl with an annoying little brother.

While our boys are much closer in age and the same gender, they argue. Yes, they play together. But oh, they bicker. They fight. They pester. They whine at one another. The tattle on each other. They push. They poke. They intentionally bother. They copy. They irritate. They annoy. They yell. They make each other cry.

They make me cry.

This is obviously not quite what I had hoped for. And while it’s not all the time and while they get along better than some sibling pairs, I still wanted more for them. I had such high hopes. I wanted, so desperately, for them to have the bond that I didn’t growing up. For them to know that they have someone to rely on, to lean on, to talk to when they don’t want to, gulpsob, talk to me. More than any dreams I might have about their future careers or the way that they’ll vote or who they might marry, I wanted them to understand the love and bond of brotherhood.

I’m learning, however slowly, that they are forming that bond. That yes, one of them will be annoyed when the other wants to play Star Wars for the umpteenth billion time. That yes, one will be annoyed when the other uses his movie choice to pick Blue’s Clues. That yes, there will be arguments and disagreements and misunderstandings and harsh words and tackling and yelling and noise and outright rivalry.

But there will also be this.

Brothers. Forever. #sunflare #autumnlight

Walking in front of me during our evening walk with the dog, they were jabbering non-stop about some Backugan game that BigBrother’s friend was playing on the bus. On and on and on they talked; LittleBrother happy to talk about something — anything — other than Star Wars, I’m sure. I tuned them out mostly, trying to coax the dog into not eating dirt off the mole hills. I vaguely understood that they had taken on various characters, though I know nothing of anything remotely attributed to this new interest — other than we apparently have a few toys from some gift giving occasion. I followed along behind them, when it happened.

They were lost in their imaginary world. BigBrother was some big warrior and LittleBrother was his loyal dragon.

“You’ll always be my little dragon.”

They walked that way for a few steps, long enough for me to fumble my iPhone out of my bra and snap a picture while the dog tried to chase one leaf out of a million, yanking the leash in the exact opposite direction of where I was trying to balance a camera phone with one hand. An unplanned sunflare popped into the final shutter snap, a moment caught that gave me back the hope that maybe, just maybe, someday they’ll be friends.

Real friends. Brothers. Forever.

12 replies on “Of Brothers and Dragons”

My brother and I are 18 months apart, and our whole childhoods were spent fighting. As a teenager we actually had to go live at separate homes due to a physical altercation that blew out of control.
We are as different as night and day, but as adults we are both keenly aware that we are each other’s links to our futures and the heaviest anchor to our joint past. When he enlisted, he listed me as his beneficiary instead of either parent lest the unthinkable happened, because it would have helped me the most, and for my kids. That gesture alone illustrated how far we’ve managed to come from our childhood rivalry. We’re not best of friends, we’re something deeper — siblings.

I often tell the girls how someday they will be the best of friends, the most loyal of relationships. I think deep down they know it, but they don’t want me to get to sappy! My mom has 5 sisters and they are funny to watch at times, but always are there for each-other.
As far as child spacing goes, I always tell people that there is no perfect formula. You just do what you think is right, or what you can do at the time and be content. I never imagined to space mine five years a part, but I knew I didn’t want to be working full time when I had another baby. It was a good decision for us and it’s a great age difference for them and they are quite close. I had more than one person tell me that they would never get along or be close..that is completely false.
Of course then we adopted out of age order and twinned Meg and Mita, so any plans I may have made were shot to heck!

It’s funny what we think will make our families work and the way that life just… happens and rolls and omg. I thought we were SO SMART. I’m sure even if they were closer or further apart they would still argue. I was just SO SMART before we were in the thick of this. SO SMART.

My sister and I are 19 months apart. We hated each other growing up. A lot of that had to do with our parents. They believed we should have been exactly the same. They played favorites. It was bad.

Then, my sister stole my identity. This was in college, but I didn’t find out about it until after I graduated and was about to move across the country. It was swell. I eventually forgave her, and we got along for about 3 years. Then, she manipulated me and stole something else from me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me, right?

We live on opposite coasts now. I’d like to know my nephews better, and it would be nice to have some help with my dad, who is not aging gracefully, but it’s probably better for our relationship that she’s so far away.

All of this was why we didn’t want our kids to be born so close together, and it also contributed to why we wanted children of both sexes. It’s interesting that you say you and your brother fought a lot. In my experience, it’s usually the siblings of opposite gender who are closer.

Actually, all of the brother-sister families I know right now have more squabbling, more not-getting-along than the same-gendered-sibling families I know. But that’s speaking of children, anywhere from 1 to 15. Speaking of adults who have already had to grow up, my dad has two brothers; they are super close. My mom has one sister and one brother and is closer with her sister. My brother and I have very little in common. We are night and day. Not only are we in different parts of our lives, but we’re just not similar. At all.

My parents didn’t play favorites, but mom did say she was harder on me because I was a girl. She wanted to make sure I was ready for the world. So that APPEARED as playing favorites to me when I was younger.

We waited 6 and a half years between our girls. Mostly because of financial need (couldn’t afford two in daycare at the same time!) I thought because they were so far apart that they wouldn’t want to have anything to do with each other (at least for the older one), but they play the same things all the time (barbies, playmobil, dolls, house, etc). I has also hoped that they wouldn’t fight much because they were going to be in such different stages of life, but it doesn’t work that way. I think all siblings fight, and that is part of the growing up process. I just wish it didn’t have to happen that way because I’m so sick of the bothering/bickering/fighting/irritation that goes on.

My step-daughers are all born within a year of each other. They are 27, 28 and 29, as close as close can be. When we blended our families, my oldest daughter was 7 and his oldest was 16. It was really hard. Mack was so little, and the girls were in their angsty teen years.

When Mea came home she was 13 months, and Mack was 15. There is a fourteen year age difference. They are as close as a six year old and a twenty year old can be (especially since Mack is away at school.)

I am close to my sister (three years younger) but we fought like crazy when we were little. It always scared my Mom when we got along. :)

It’s always nice to hear and see our sons loving each other when there is so much other chaos. Our middle child who is 2 years and 2 days apart from his younger brother, has entered middle school and leaves an hour before the fourth grader rises. The middle son, who is our most sensitive but arguably the most stubborn and sometimes even a bully, and with whom I’ve constantly had to have “talks” about brother loyalty, has started writing his little brother special notes before he leaves for school. I did not realize this was occurring. Little brother had been stashing them (precious) in his desk drawer. I found them and I read them all. I love this gesture that I hope lasts forever. My three sons are all different and I pray they are the best of friends when they no longer see each other every day.

I always laugh when parents say they wish their kids were closer.

My brother and I are about two years apart. We hatedhatedhatedhated each other growing up.

My boyfriend and his brother are almost exactly eighteen months apart. They loved each other, were best friends, did everything together.

But you know what’s interesting now? My brother and I are extremely close. We live in separate states. We live incredibly different lives. We have almost opposite goals. I’m the only person in the family he calls, or worries about. We had such a strange childhood, I don’t believe that it’s real unless my brother exists. I can’t believe I went through it, unless I see someone else did.

My boyfriend and his brother are drifting apart. They have similar goals and interests. But they’re drifting apart, and it’s hard and painful on both of them. Lives are changing, and they don’t like it. It’s hard to watch, as an outsider.

I wouldn’t be worried too much about how they are growing up. Kids change so much. Personalities are still growing. You never know how they are going to be once they’re adults.

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