My boys are 2 years and 2 months apart in age. They are not twins as they sometimes say they are. And yet, they are not so different in size. They often dress alike. They share a bedroom and often a bed. They have amazingly similar and wildly different likes and dislikes. They are protective and concerned and loving towards each other. They are overly competitive and hateful and rude and bullies towards one another. They are forever linked by their DNA, their upbringing and their tight love/hate relationship.
They are brothers.
Bad Seeds or Good Apples
Brothers have been on my mind lately.
We have begun a new tradition of reading a passage from a Children's Bible at the dinner table each evening. I recently remarked on the number of brothers who despise and kill or set out to ruin the other; something that I had failed to ponder so much before giving birth to two brothers.
I recently picked up a magazine and read an excerpt from a book about brothers. There were many interesting connections, observations and theories regarding brothers and their birth order in this article, but what struck me was the conclusion that brothers are not necessarily alike, despite similar DNA and their shared parents and experiences don't mean much; it's more about their personalities, birth order and one's perception of a shared experience, which is often quite different from that of his brother.
I saw a headline that said something to the effect of "Two Brothers become dads within minutes of one another just a few doors apart at the same hospital." The article said the brothers were best friends; they saw each other quite frequently; lived near each other and were thrilled to add this experience to a list of many others.
Then, just this past week, I read something about the Boston terrorists; the brothers. And this article outlined the number of terrorists in recent and past history that were brothers; apparently, a shared closeness, such as that of a brother, can aid in shutting out the rest of the world and help them to believe their own flawed perceptions are true and right.
Of course, those shared experiences and likenesses and differences can also create amazing, beautiful, imaginative, innovative industry, ideas, art, etc. Think of the Wright Brothers, the Coen Brothers, the Marx brothers, the Gershwin Brothers, the Rockefeller Brothers, etc.
Perhaps, one day people will add the Berend Brothers to such a list for a great achievement in something. Or perhaps they will grow up, split up and take up very different lives, barely seeing each other during their adulthoods.
I see their similarities and the differences. I see how they comfort each other and rile each other. I see how they take up for each other and guide each other and encourage each other through difficult tasks or feelings. I see how they taunt and compete and physically strike out at each other.
I see all these things. And I think about my two sweet, stubborn, creative, boisterous, tough, sensitive boys sound asleep tangled up together in the lower bunk and I wonder will they be close and protective and loving when they are adults; will they always need each other; will they never plot to do evil; will they always understand each other?
This mother's heart prays for a loving, peaceful, steadfast relationship for these Brothers; a relationship that does no harm to each other or their families or to strangers, but one that produces only beautiful and inspiring and inventive outcomes, whatever they may be.
Brothers; there is no other relationship quite like it. Over and out....
*Coincidentally, we have a shortage of sisters in our household.... we don't have a daughter; I have a brother, but no sisters; my dear husband has only 2 brothers; no sisters.