My wife is a lady in every sense of the word. She is dignified, she is classy and she is lovely but she is also to the mother to three boys; and they are my boys at that.
Brothers have a special bond, one that is often hot and cold but rarely in between. One minute they are trying to rip each other’s hair out over a dispute regarding Lego ownership and the next they are giggling over fart jokes. When my middle son was a baby and my oldest was a toddler, my wife was giving them a bath. She finished up and had them sitting on a towel by the bath tub when she left for a very brief moment to get the lotion. In the five to ten seconds that she was gone, the older brother had climbed atop the toilet and began peeing on his baby brother.
My wife came upon this scene and was utterly horrified while both boys were giggling as if it were the funniest thing that had happened in their young lives. Of course it was the funniest thing that had happened in their young lives.
“I’m peeing on the baby!” my oldest exclaimed when confronted for an explanation by his mother. Both boys still think this story is hilarious.
Nowadays there are three brothers, and that complicates the dynamic as there is usually one brother on the out. More often than not it’s the baby brother that is being excluded by the older two but sometimes, like today, it’s the younger two that team up.
They had both donned their swim suits and squirt guns while their oldest brother had decided that he was too cool for that. So naturally they aligned and chased him around the yard, thoroughly soaking him. It’s interesting to consider how the middle brother is always the anchor, or the link in the chain between which two brothers will be teaming up. It truly warms my heart to see those rare occasions when he sides with his baby brother to terrorize the older one for a change.
It was laughs to be had by all of course but I know how important it is for the baby brother to be on the winning side for a change. Older brothers are like gods to younger brothers. A chance to be cool with them is all they ever want. In a way, the oldest son always has it the easiest because he will never know that hardship. In another way however, his example sets the stage for the younger brothers to follow; a burden of which he is not fully appreciative but I am and will likely be harder on him because of it.
These things are easy to overthink though I suppose. At the end of the day, I just hope they build memories that will keep them close later in life. Whether it’s successfully conducting a coordinated squirt gun attack or standing atop the toilette and squirting on the baby, They’ll be stuck with each other longer than they’ll be stuck with us. I want them to appreciate what they have.