02 April 2013

B is for... Brothers

When I found out that I was going to be raising not one but two boys, I had no idea what their relationship would be like.  After all, I had a sister.  I didn't know how brothers interacted.  I mean, yeah, I had two step-brothers, but they were both older than me and didn't get along too well.  So what would my boys end up being to each other?  Would Teddy be jealous of Pete?  Would Pete think his big brother was a jerk?  Would they be in each others pockets all the time?  I just didn't know. 

After four and a half years, I think that they're going to be good brothers to one another.  Oh, they don't get along all the time.  I don't think any siblings ever did.  But when I see the two of them together, I have no doubts that "brother" means something special to each of them.  And, honestly, I should have known from the beginning.

From the time Teddy first met Pete in the hospital (and maybe even before, while I was pregnant with him), Teddy loved his little brother.  He would proudly point to Pete and tell everyone we met, "That's my little brother, Peter."  He wanted to teach him things, like how to play with his toys or how to jump.  He wanted to learn how to feed him, and he wanted to read him stories.  When we would stop at Kroger, he would go to the bakery and ask for "a cookie for me and my baby brother, Peter."  He adored him.

And it hasn't changed as he's gotten older.  He loves to teach Pete how to do things.  He'll sit with him and read him stories.  He'll try to teach him how to play Pokemon.  He'll help him on the Wii or play pretend with him.  He takes being a big brother seriously, though their play is rarely serious.  He tries to guide him, teach him, and be what he thinks a big brother needs to be while still being who he is.

And Pete worships Teddy.  From the time he could crawl, he would follow his brother around.  Everything that Teddy has been interested in, Pete has followed with interest of his own.  When Teddy was into super heroes, Pete had his favorites.  Since Teddy has been into Pokemon, Pete has learned from him the different types, their moves, their strengths and weaknesses.  Pete's saddest day was when Teddy started kindergarten and they had to be apart all day long.  He can't wait until Teddy is home from school each day and wants to tell his brother everything he missed.  And he wants to spend every minute with him, if only Teddy would let him.

They each look out for the other one.  So often, Teddy will help Pete with something he can't get quite right. So often, Pete will get an extra candy when we're out so he can give it to Teddy.  Teddy will slow down so he'll let Pete "win" when they're racing each other to the mailbox.  Pete will wait until Teddy gets to him so they can tie.  

This isn't to say that they never fight.  Because they do.  Regularly.  Teddy will want alone time when Pete wants to play with him.  Pete will get angry because Teddy has something he wants.  One or both of them will come crying because they've hit one another (and Pete, for all that he's the tinier one, hits the hardest).  They fight and argue over who's turn it is to do something.  But fighting is part of growing up, and it's part of family.  I've always said that if you can fight and make up, that's the true test of love.  Because it means that you aren't afraid to let your true feelings be known.  And I see that in my boys all the time - fighting and making up.

I've always loved the song "Brotherly Love" by Keith Whitley and Earl Thomas Conley.  But it never meant as much to me as it does know that I have my own pair of brothers that I'm getting to watch grow up together.