Brotherly Love

I am an only child (yes, I know, insert jokes about being spoiled and self-centered here - I've heard them all!) The sibling relationship has always fascinated me. Watching my husband with his brother, or my friends with their sisters - it's like everyone is part of a world I just can't understand. What is it like to have the same parents as someone else? What is it like to know that you can be so different, and fight, and argue, but have an unshakable, unbreakable bond, no matter what? When my father passed away five years ago, would having someone else who was feeling the same loss have made things any easier for me? It's just a relationship that I've never been able to comprehend, and have spent a lot of time pondering!

So now that I have two boys, who are becoming more and more interactive every day, my already-present fascination with siblings has just multiplied. The other day I took Noah and Sam to an open play-time at a local children's gym. It was crowded with three- and four-year olds, all of whom were on spring break from school and seemingly a little stir crazy. Noah ran around like a lunatic, while Sam and I sat together on the floor and I watched as he crawled from toy to toy. Sam was heading for a purple hula hoop when a wild-eyed, curly-haired approximately three year old spotted it and came barreling toward him at full speed. I started to hop up to avert the crisis when out of nowhere came Big Brother Noah, who planted himself in between the errant toddler and his baby brother, announcing, "DON'T HURT MY BABY SAM!" The chastised child slunk away, Sam happily chewed on the end of the purple hula hoop, and Noah resumed his racing around - leaving me to marvel at what I'd just witnessed. At four years old, Noah has already put himself in the role of protecting and looking out for his little brother. And Sam, clearly, will have greater access to the things he wants because Noah will help him to get them. What a gift! It's something I never had, and something I'm so grateful that my boys will.

So any of you who are lucky enough to have siblings - appreciate them! When you've walked a day in my shoes, having no one to make fun of my mom with; having no one to make me an aunt (by blood); having to live with the fear that my mom's aging process and whatever that entails will rest squarely on my shoulders - you'll be grateful to have a brother or sister.

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