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.
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.