They’re close in age and the same sex. I was pleased about both facts, happy to have given birth to boys, especially with a difficult mother-daughter relationship of my own.
My sons were dramatically different right from the beginning – one was gregarious, ran non-stop, and even before elementary school, it was clear he was technically inclined. His little brother couldn’t have been more his opposite. Though they resembled each other physically, he was quiet, he was calm, he spoke little and was content to sit and draw for hours.
Naturally, they fought. But the nature of their competition never seemed mean-spirited and their arguments were surprisingly few and didn’t lead to fisticuffs. I sometimes chalk this up to my younger son’s easy-going temperament. He frequently yielded to what his brother seemed to want, and did so without any muss or fuss.
And I remember, with great pride, the day my firstborn went after a bully in the playground who was clearly going after my much smaller, younger son.
Sibling Relationships After Divorce
When divorce came, my kids were still little boys. Their world was suddenly upside down, and while one voiced his anger, the other turned his confusion on himself. There were three extremely painful years – for them, and for me.
But even the years that followed weren’t significantly better. They “adjusted” to the way things were – little cooperation when it came to co-parenting, money was always a struggle, the stress I was under was hard to hide, and equally challenging was the outright animosity in any direct dealings between their father and me.
Still, I counted my blessings that my boys were healthy and smart, and that the harder things were, the more they seemed to be a team – helping me, but more importantly – standing by each other. And we all know that sibling bonds are never a given. I was glad to see the way my boys got along.
Shared Challenges Can Bring Us Closer
The years have passed, and certain post-divorce issues remain. But one thing that has also remained is the fact that my sons enjoy one another’s company. Though they’re separated by half a country now, as they have been since the elder left for college, it’s a real pleasure to watch them relate to each other when we’re all under the same roof, and I know they’ve gotten together at other times as well.
My younger came home from college last week – he’s been sleeping, he’s been eating, he’s helping out when I ask him… he’s been sleeping some more… Friends have been coming by at all hours… And he was given airport duty this noon, picking up his brother who just arrived back in town.
As they walked through the door and I heard the two of them laughing, I felt as though “all is right with the world.” What could be better for Christmas Eve?
My boys are home, they’re safe, their values are solid, they’re grounded and decent.
And they genuinely love each other.
Car Keys, Please?
Naturally, the first hour at home was a jumble of stories, a grab for wrapping paper, plaintive requests for boxes and scotch tape, and teasing – you got it – directed at yours truly.
Then they snatched up the keys to my car and headed out for unknown adventures – no doubt traffic snarls for last minute shopping and I know they’re rounding up some of their childhood friends. And I couldn’t be more delighted. The hardships we’ve faced together, the trust we’ve built with each other, the confidences I imagine they share – this makes for the kind of family I always wanted.
We’re a small team, but a close-knit team. And I couldn’t be more proud of my sons.
My Christmas gift?
I just got it.