Anybody that has children knows that the friendship level can swing widely from one extreme to the next in less than the blink of an eye. Children who were happily playing together are suddenly screaming bloody murder with cries of "Mom, he...!" mixed in for good measure. Such are my two boys. One moment they're best friends and the next Mom has to step in for a calming effect and send them to their respective rooms once the rounds of apologies have been completed. Then Mom gets to go and talk to each offender individually about his particular role in the spat. My oldest loves his little brother but being the oldest also likes his alone time. He is also quite the more clean of the two and often resents the way Landon strews toys all around and frequently breaks them in his exuberance. My youngest being the youngest thinks that alone time is a penalty and strives to be with Nathan every second they're both awake. He also, as aforementioned, is happy with is room being knee-deep in toys and clothes and doesn't get the concept of privacy. You see trouble brewing between the vastly different personalities? Then join the club.
Relationships had gotten to the point where any approach by Landon was greeted with "Go away, I don't want you around." Such as response was, as you can well imagine, not tolerated in this household. One afternoon it was bad enough that after I sent Landon to take his nap, Nathan and I sat down and had a good long talk. We discussed how Mommy and Daddy gave Nathan his name because it means "gift from God" and that Landon is still a precious gift even though his name means something different. Each and every child is a precious gift from the Father. I also pulled out Landon's baby album and pointed out how many pictures had Nathan excited to be around his baby brother. (and there were numerous pictures of Nathan hanging out with his brother.) Then we prayed for his attitude towards his brother to change. I've also talked to Landon extensively about giving Nathan some alone time. That was a hard concept for the kid to swallow!
I wish I could say it's been perfect since then, but that would be a complete lie. And it would mean that my kids aren't growing through challenges. Nathan is much better about asking Landon to leave his alone rather than shoving him into the hallway and locking the door. Landon, with some coaching, now leaves Nathan's room when asked and the whining is diminishing. The other day I could not have been more proud of my oldest son. The second night of VBS we ended up moving Nathan up to an older class (the downside of holding him back from kindergarden a year is the constant struggle to identify which age group he needs to be in.) Landon was heartbroken that he was no longer going to have his brother in his class with him. While I was busy trying to take care of necessary communications with other adults I was unable to comfort my youngest son. Never fear, Nathan took care of that. I looked over to see Nathan with Landon's head cupped in his hands and his forehead touching his little brother's while reassuring words came out of his mouth. My thoughts ran between "Awwww" to "WHERE'SMYCAMERA?WHERE'SMYCAMERA?INEEDMYCAMERA!!!!" Alas, the moment was too fleeting to dig my phone out of my pocket and capture the photo, but it is ofrever captured in my memory. Reassurance that as they grow, so will their relationship. Hope that maybe I'm leading them in the right direction. Reminders that little hearts are big enough to share God's love.