About 5 or 6 years ago a very close buddy of my cousin passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack. It was quite shocking and sad. I went to the funeral since I also knew him and his family and was struck by what his brother said when he got up to speak. He said “you walk your life with your siblings.” Sooo true. Who else in your life has that unique perspective on your family? Who else can you fight with, scream at, cry with, laugh with than your sibling? It is the craziest, best relationship in the world. My sister and I fought like cats and dogs as kids; something to do with the age difference, my parents, life and just our different personalities. Now she is my confidant, and the dearest friend ever!! I love laughing with her and she is not only a great sister, but an incredibly loving aunt to the boys.
I watch our boys play together all of the time. They are best buddies. They love each other, and kill each other all of the time. They go on our trampoline together, inevitably Jason is crying or screaming and Bryan is laughing. Bryan is “strong like bull” and Jason is a little guy. We all know how these things go. In the pool, one is always dunking the other one under or taking the other one’s goggles or boogie board or whatever. It the dysfunctional function of siblings. It drives me nuts and makes me smile all at the same time.
Bryan has a social group that is run by his speech therapist and OT. It is for an hour on Saturdays and there are 2 or 3 kids, including Bryan. Since Jason is always along for the ride, he sometimes participates as a helper for the group. Our speech therapist and OT love Jason and they do see the value of his assistance. Jason likes to feel important and needed and is a truly empathetic old soul. So yesterday I took Bryan to a regular speech session, one on one, that he has on Sundays. His teacher asked to speak to me about Jason. She said she was concerned when they were in group, because if Bryan could not answer or navigate the language needed, she said Jason seemed so worried and anxious about Bryan. OY!!!!!!!!!!! So now what can I say or do? She is so kind-hearted and loving and I know she was looking out for Jason. She is concerned about the emotional toll Bryan’s challenges take on him. I think this is something Jason and I have talked about before, and basically are always talking about. He cannot be responsible for Bryan. Easier said than done.
Their lives are coming to a crossroads. They will be separated for most of the summer at different sleepaway camps. They will see each other on visiting day and I am positive that will be nothing short of a tear filled love fest. Next year they will not be in school together and since middle school and elementary school are on different schedules, they will not be spending nearly the same amount of time together. I think this will be a good healthy change and necessary for both of them for the maturing process.
One thing is for sure, you cannot make brothers or sisters like each other. They take their cues from the parents, develop their own relationships, and have to work it out. Like all relationships, it is constantly changing and evolving as they do. People often remark to us how mature and loving Jason is with respect to Bryan. We feel it too, but for him, this is what he knows, this is his part of the journey.