Sunday, July 12, 2009

Waiting for the moment my 10-year-old says...

While there are so many things I am anticipating my son Cole saying in the next few years, the one phrase I have thinking about constantly is this: "Umm yeah, I'm kinda done playing with my little brother." He's been the perfect brother (Cole), though he lives with us part-time. He has accommodated his little brother Luke and his baby sister Hope seamlessly. Certainly the boys have their moments, but Cole has dug deep and when he is with us has been the perfect playmate. While I see boys and girls Cole's age getting into more complex things, Cole has maintained this beautiful balance between becoming a tween and staying a little kid. He still finds playing cars with his little brother interesting and appealing. While he may not like the cartoons or shows that Luke likes, he still sucks it up and accompanies him most of the time in front of the television. He helps his brother accomplish things and fix things and get dressed if he needs the help. At the park he will pull his brother and his brothers' friends in a wagon, around the park, for hours.

In the small room they share it's clear they have their separate spaces, but they ultimately end up playing together on the rug in the middle of the room. And so all of this works, and aside from the normal turmoil that can be expected when a 5-year-old and a 10-year-old with different personalities clash, the living situation is pretty darn nice.

But the day will come when they separate. Not physically but mentally, emotionally. I can see when Cole is, say 13 and Luke will 8. What will Cole be into? Girls, sports, himself, all of it? What will Luke like? Video games, sports, his own friends? The age difference is significant enough to warrant this separation at some point. Maybe it comes later when Cole is 15 or 16. I fear the day that he may not want to come up from his mom's house in Dana Point because he may have a chick or his buddies want to go out. I hope it never gets to this point, but teenagers are teenagers.

For now I relish this time these two buds have together. They are like an old married couple in a way. Bicker, fight, separate followed by play, be pals, ride bikes, go nite-nite. I can sense the loyalty that Cole has toward Luke and the admiration that Luke has toward Cole. I know that in any given, uncomfortable situation at the park or wherever, that Cole will have his brother's back. I know that when they are out riding their bikes together, ahead of us, up the street, that Cole watches his brother's every move. Making sure he's safe and in line. I know that Luke is watching his brother and how he rides his bike, the turns he does, the way he stops, the sounds he may make and is storing it in his little head.

It's a beautiful thing to watch: two brothers growing up, in crazy times, together half the time. My hope is that this connection will maintain, that while both will grow and spread their wings, that they will still come back to the connection they have as brothers and roommates. I think they will keep this bond no matter what, through time, forever. There's something there that I can't necessarily see but can sense. Even through the tempers and attitude, they still come back to an innocent place that is blissful and accented with the sounds of Matchbox car horns and make believe security officers.

Meanwhile little sister Hope is sitting back with a binkie in her mouth thinking "What is wrong with these guys?" It's poetry in motion.