My sons don't always love each other. In fact, some days, my house is a war zone with each son on a different side of some invisible battle line. It's a civil war of sorts.
Honestly? It's heart wrenching for this mama who just wants her sons to become fast friends so they'll have somebody to be there for them once I'm gone from this world.
The intense arguing started during early summer, and by the start of August, I had mastered the speech about loving your brother, not inciting your brother to anger, not intentionally doing things to irritate your brother. I had even added the part about this being the only brother God gave you to love, so you'd better start!
When that didn't work, I resorted to making them sit together on the naughty bench until they could figure out some plan to be able to play together without arguing. This was good and always provided a short-term fix, but not even this stemmed the tide beyond the bench's shadow.
Their bickering, nagging, annoying of the other grew so intense that I made them swap seats in the van. No more sitting by each other on the back row. Mama just couldn't take the whining.
Then, kindergarten started and with the shift in power, the constant battle vanished overnight.
No longer was Wyatt the big brother who directed the day's play. Instead, for the majority of each day, Emerson was now man of the house, on equal footing with his twin sister.
And when Wyatt stepped off the bus and back into our world?
It was good to have him home. Everyone was happy to be with him. What's more, he was happy to be there, to re-enter our world, even if it did include a younger brother and sister.
He could bring home long, winding yarns about his life at big boy school. On the floor in the hall, his purple and gold book bag would spill forth counting songs he would sing to us, rhymes about oceans, a clay volcano for us to re-erupt, and page after page of stories, drawings, and words.
While Amelia was less than impressed after the first few minutes, Emerson would sit and listen, taking it all in.
Suddenly, no longer were Emerson and Amelia too "little" to do this or that. Instead, Wyatt began admonishing me to teach them their numbers and their letter sounds NOW, FASTER because, "they need to learn to read like me."
Yesterday, Wyatt did the unprecedented--allowed Emerson to touch his prized camera. Heads together, Wyatt explained step by step how to play each particular game on it while Emerson watched intently.
Late this afternoon, my jaw dropped when I heard Wyatt ask Emerson to come sit with him in daddy's La-Z-Boy. At the end of the Leap Frog video, they were still there--together, skin touching skin and without any complaints.Even in the back of the van, Wyatt and Emerson passed the miles to ESL class by telling knock-knock jokes, even if they were completely lacking an understanding of what makes a joke funny.
"Knock knock," Wyatt says.
"Who's there," answers Emerson.
"Alligator chased a bear up a tree! Ha ha ha ha !!!" laughs Wyatt, amused at his own joke.
Emerson grins and laughs just as loudly with his outside voice before catching my eye in the rear view mirror. Then, it's his turn. "Knock, knock...."
I can't help shaking my head and laughing. None of the jokes makes sense. Not one. But that doesn't matter. What matters is their happy play together, each taking turns telling a senseless joke, each laughing at the other's.
It's a heart-knitting exercise.
When the lights go out tonight, the camaraderie will really begin. Door closed, white noise machine on to mask a farm full of sounds--they won't think I can hear their stories, games, chatter, their laughter.
No, I usually can't make out the words, but my heart is warmed by the high lilting tones that speak of a covert bond forming when they think mama isn't watching.
It's a blessing, a spark of hope that one day, they really will love their brother as God intended.