“Would you like to see your baby brother,” I asked Scott, pulling down the receiving blanket so he could get a good look at the infant.
“No thank you,” said our three-year-old son without taking his eyes off Barney and Friends.
That was not exactly how I envisioned the first meeting of our two sons. However, I decided not to press the issue, assuming Scott would come around to the idea of having a baby in the house soon enough.
Our new addition to the family was born just two days prior to this frosty reception. Within the first few minutes of birth, we noticed a striking resemblance to his older brother.
“He’s the spitting image of Scott,” said Raymond as we marveled at the perfect little human being whom we would name Tyler. “Totally,” I mumbled in a woozy voice reflective of hard labor that had yet to become the proverbial “faint memory.”
I studied Tyler’s miniature features and thanked God for providing us with another healthy child. I was thrilled with the idea of having two sons who would be best of friends – built-in companions for all their years.
After about a week of some serious snubbing, Scott finally came clean. “Tyler drools too much,” he pointed out plainly as he watched a long, milky string of saliva dribble down his brother’s chin. Ah ha. So, it was the drooling.
Thus began the saga of two little boys, born of the same parents, who couldn’t be more different. In a nutshell, one was messy while the other was neat and organized. One was loud while the other was reserved and often embarrassed by the loud one. One made new friends every other minute while the other was cautious in relationships. One followed the rules while the other followed the rules only when being watched. On most days, I felt more like a referee instead of the calm, nurturing mother I aspired to be.
I couldn’t help but wonder what God was thinking giving us this “Odd Couple” for brothers. Would they ever get along? Would they ever be true friends?
Scott and Tyler both had the privilege of being in Ms. Dyson’s first-grade class while attending elementary school. Both connected with her in that special way that kids do with terrific teachers. In addition to raising a large brood of her own and teaching dozens of students, Ms. Dyson also had the courage to coach the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams. There were rumors, among the parents, that Ms. Dyson could practically walk on water.
“Tyler’s doing well this semester,” Ms. Dyson reported to Raymond and me as we twisted in chairs that made us feel like Jolly Green Giants.
Carefully running her finger across her grade book, Ms. Dyson rattled off a series of test and quiz scores which were anything but consistent.
“Sometimes Tyler likes to socialize a little too much in class. However, he’s buckled down quite nicely to earn a solid B for the first two quarters. I’m really proud of him,” she continued as she tucked the grade book back into its proper spot on the shelf.
“It’s been interesting getting to know Scott’s little brother,” Ms. Dyson said with a wide grin. “They just couldn’t be more different, huh?”
“Yes, and it’s just such a challenge!” I moaned, forgetting to filter emotions that lingered far too close to the surface.
“Oh…but they’re both great kids,” Ms. Dyson asserted convincingly. “I think that Tyler is really good for Scott – and, well, Scott is really good for Tyler. Seems like a match made in heaven to me!”
Ms. Dyson’s words stopped me cold. Pondering the comment further, I realized that God had given each brother to the other as a gift – to help shape and mold him. To file down the sharp edges and forge a path to open-mindedness, patience and compassion.
These fine qualities did, indeed, materialize in our growing sons, along with the friendship I yearned for them to have so many years ago.
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