Sibling Dynamics by Sharon O’Donnell
My 17-year-old son took my 11-year-old son out to eat tonight while my husband and I attended an event. They went to Moe’s, the popular Mexican fast-food, order and then sit down to eat place. It’s a favorite of my 17-year old, David, and recently he told us of the new drink machine there that features over 100 different kinds of drinks. So he had to take his little brother Jason there to see it for himself. When I talked to him later on the phone, Jason described it as “a culinary experience”. No doubt this is a term he learned from the kids TV sit coms he watches. (I know too much TV is bad, but I’ve found over the years with my 3 sons that watching appropriate TV programs can enhance one’s vocabulary with words and phrases immensely.) Of course, if Jason thinks a drink machine is a culinary experience, something must have gone wrong somewhere — most likely in the fact that there are not too many actual culinary experiences in our house — I’m not the most adventurous cook. And the boys usually put so much ketchup on whatever they eat, the taste of tomato sauce is about the only culinary experience they get.
But at least David had taken the initiative and taken his little brother somewhere. It’s nice to see that the six year age gap between them seems to be narrowing as they get older. Later they watched a hockey game on TV together and played Monopoly. Of course, they usually wind up roughhousing by the end of the night no matter how well they’ve gotten along the rest of the day. It’s hard to believe that the same 17-year-old who was nice enough to take his little brother to Moe’s and to play Monopoly with him would later terrorize him by sitting on top of him and bouncing, infuriating his brother. Yet, this seems to be the dynamics of the relationship.
I’ve noticed the two of them getting closer ever since my oldest son — now a junior in college — moved into the dorm, spending most of the past few years on campus. He joined a fraternity last year, and he loves to do things with his fraternity ‘brothers’; but, I want him to realize that he has two real brothers back home who miss him and miss the way things used to be when he was around all the time. And a mom and dad who miss that too. Sure, I want him to grow up and be independent, but I was really hoping to see more of him this weekend than I have. Wow, time does go back quickly.