Living in the “city of brotherly love” and having two sons is an interesting combination. We of the Philly crew tend to catch a lot of crap for our lack of true filial affection for those around us. This week, though, has made me think that perhaps we Broad Street Bullies do really understand the nature of that strangest of bonds – brotherhood.
For those not in the know, I have two boys. I was thankful to get those two boys, mind you. When my second baby boy entered the world, the question on many lips was “Will you try for a girl?” My answer was (edited for audience)… a firm “no”. I always connected with Jo from Little Women, and imagined myself as a teacher in an all-boys school or the mother of boys. I do imagine I would have been a good mom for a girl, but I’m perfectly content with my dynamic duo.
Brotherly love, though, is a thing of wonder. My boys frequently amaze me with the mercurial nature of their affection for one another. Last week I had the perfect example.
“Mom, he’s looking at me funny,” declared the older child. (Honestly! I thought that was just a phrase comedians used before I became a mother.)
With a single eyebrow cocked, smirking all the while, the younger child indicated his disdain for that statement. Thus, of course, making the older child flip out again. The little one is an expert button pusher, and has been since he was old enough to toddle. I have to remember to share some of those stories one of these days. The older one, as he nears adolescence, has buttons the size of archery targets. It’s a wonderful combination.
Voices got shriller – louder – and I couldn’t even send them to their rooms for a cooling off period. We were in lovely, manic, preparing for school mode. Fists raised, glares exchanged, though they both knew better than to actually throw any punches. A few threats later, and they were quietly gobbling down their breakfast.
Out of the blue, the little one declared, “I want to start violin this summer instead of waiting until next school year.”
With a huge grin on his face, big brother hopped up from the table and snatched up his violin.
“I can show you a few things now, and maybe I can teach you this summer!” he announced, and then proceeded to give a little demonstration of some of his simpler songs from third grade.
Bemused, I let the impromptu music lesson continue for a few minutes while I packed the lunches. How did two children who were about to maim one another just moments before turn into this sweet tableau of love and affection?
Yes, we do have it right here in Philly. There is a good reason that it only takes one missing letter to turn “bother” into “brother”.