This picture was taken five minutes ago:
These brothers are telling a lifetime worth of secrets. What it will be like when one walks into the room and the other always laughs, or how they’ll star in daddy’s stories as Tonto and Squanto, and how to play captain of the ship covering your brother in empty cardboard boxes.
These are the stories siblings tell.
Stories of family vacations, playing ball, baking sweets. Pieces of everday life. I’m guessing they also have secret looks that communicate how ridiculous their parents are.
And this picture was taken one minute later:
I blinked and it happened. They grew up. But they adore each other. That didn’t change.
This entire chapter of living together is coming to a close as Liam heads off to college in a year. Our sibling relationships are our longest lasting ones. We’ve known our sisters and brothers longer than our spouses and they are around when even our parents are gone.
They grew up with a different kind of relationship than most. They’ve changed and been changed by each other in an extraordinary way.
They’ve had their silly sibling stories and moments of making memories.
Just recently Liam has taken to asking me about Aidan’s doctor’s appointments. He’s just checking in. We turned him into a caretaker without thinking much about it and I’m good with that. It hasn’t stopped him from grabbing Aidan’s chair with Aidan in it and racing through the house at turbo speed or jumping in another chair and chasing his brother down or even sweetly singing to Aidan each night at bedtime.
When Liam was not quite three years old he fed Aidan through his g-tube. Not in the adorable way that parents like to make their kids feel like helpers even though they’re making a mess of things. No. I trained him, watched him, then said “feed your brother” and walked away. What the hell was I thinking? He was barely potty trained. Now Liam knows every aspect of Aidan’s care from putting on his orthotics carefully and correctly, to proper lifting, and dosing meds.
Nothing has been stolen from Liam, not his childhood nor his innocence or even our time. It just all looks different. Messier. Bigger. More complicated.
But still wonderful. There’s no denying that.