To Brothers, On the Eve of Change

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To the Brothers in Our Home,

Your dad and I sit in a special spot.  We get to be with you, observe you, and guide you for these years that you will not remember perfectly but will be affected by greatly.  As I watched you play the other day, I couldn’t help but want your future selves to be able to see these present moments as we see them.

Life is about to change.  A new baby brother is due in a few months.  Older brother begins kindergarten in a few weeks.  Your world is expanding.  The insular world of brotherhood is about to be renovated for a whole new wing that includes another brother, as well as wider relational and cultural influence upon you all.

On the eve of this change, I want to make sure to remember for you how important your brotherhood has been.  Your enjoyment is magnified by your brother’s admiration.  Your experiences are enhanced by your brother’s companionship.  Your life lessons are witnessed by your brother’s watchful eyes.

Brotherhood is no easy relationship. You are each other’s teacher for the human relationship of peers.  You try out every thought, follow every impulse, express every feeling in companionship.  You share delight and you inflict pain.  Reciprocity lifts high life’s triumphs and brings low life’s tragedies.

As much as you can manage, do not hold this against the other.  Your internal urges and impulses come from the instinctual need to survive, differentiate, and find purpose.  This is human, and therefore both unavoidable, necessary, and ultimately even beautiful.

We are doing our best to help you process these urges without damaging the other.  But we are not superhuman parents.  We will never be able to stop all fights, prevent every act of retaliation, quench jealousy, establish complete fairness, or dissolve every grudge.

This, too, is gift – messy, long-game work that will ultimately shape you to be better friends, better spouses, better fathers, better leaders, better lovers of difficult people, and better servants to humanity.

In light of all of this, receiving your brotherhood as gift…

Practice forgiveness.
Learn to reunite and begin again.
Recognize your action’s impacts on the other.
Witness the effect and then make a different choice next time.
Notice the power of kindness.

At day’s end, give thanks for your brotherhood.  Praise the Creator and Redeemer of brotherhood.  Hold your brother’s faults less powerfully than the amount you cherish your brother’s steady presence.  In so doing, may life be more abundant, more real, and more precious than you could have ever imagined.

Love always, Mommy.

 

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