My boys have had a mostly typical brotherly relationship with each other. When they interact, the older boy can be bossy and critical and the younger boy can be annoying and defensive quite often. They take turns instigating trouble. (They actually get along–or at least tolerate each other–more than they think they do, but it can get a little ugly at times.) It is sometimes very reminiscent of what was going on when I was growing up with my younger sister.
Though Julesie and I do have some really great memories (just a few include playing Barbies, watching “Donny & Marie”, recording ourselves making radio shows, and that day in the car which I still can’t talk about publicly except to say that we were listening to Michael Jackson songs), I was a really bossy big sister. I have regrets about our growing up years and I can’t go back and change anything but I am very happy that our relationship improved almost immediately after I left for college.
The idea that you always have the opportunity to change the way a relationship is going is something I’ve been trying to impress upon the boys over the past year. I’ve told them how their aunt and I did it, and how we’re so much better off for it now (to say the least). I think it’s important that they make the effort because as more time goes by and they get their own lives going, the potential exists for them to really slip away from each other.
When I’ve talked with them about this, I usually get the blank stare and the nod that tells me “Yeah, yeah, I’m tuning out now.”
I have hopeful signs that the tide might be turning, though. For one thing, I know that the younger boy has sent (the latest of many) Facebook friend request to his brother, and while he is really keeping his fingers crossed that it will finally be accepted, I know that the older boy hasn’t hit “ignore” yet, because he is thinking about it (progress).
They’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times since the older one left for college, and then, on Friday when the older boy came home for the weekend, this happened:
On Sunday evening, the older boy was at a movie with his girlfriend and I was in the living room having a conversation with the younger boy. Suddenly he noticed his brother’s backpack and his eyes lit up as he sprang from his chair and rushed over to it. I knew exactly what he was thinking: he was going to nugget it. (New to nuggeting? Watch this. I’ll wait.)
I said, “Hold on there, are you sure you want to do that?”
“But he left his backpack just SITTING here. It’s too tempting not to!”
“Remember your friend request? Remember how you two are trying to advance yourselves into a new and different, more grown-up relationship?” I implored him to think about all these things. Nuggeting is a rather small offense, I know, but in a crossroads situation like this, I advised against it.
He sat there, dramatically running his finger over the zipper and sighing heavily as he contemplated the pros and cons.
“I guess…I won’t do it,” he concluded. “But I’m going to text him and let him know that I ALMOST nuggeted him.”
Some things never change.
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