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  • Writer's pictureK.C. Runkel

When it Comes to Brothers, Look for the Little Things

I lose track of how many times each day I have to get on my oldest for not treating his baby brother properly.

"Stop running your brother over!"

"Why did you just yank that toy from his hands?"

"Don't give him that—he could CHOKE for crying out loud!"

Or my personal favorite, "No, you cannot sit on his head! Why would you even ask that?"

At nearly four years apart, the age gap between my two boys can, at times, seem more like decades. While one is prepping to start school, the other is just stepping his newly walking feet into this world, ready to take it by storm.

I love the age difference, don't get me wrong. But sometimes it makes it easy for me to forget that even though my oldest is smart, thoughtful, and independent, he's still so young. And he's still learning what it means to be a big brother.

And that's when the shame hits. When I realize just how hard I have been on my first baby. And that breaks my heart.

So I decided, in an effort to keep my heart humble and my mind at rest, to give my oldest some grace. To try and truly understand what it feels like to be a big brother.

So I look for the little things—just as I'm about to the edge of insanity—and my perspective shifts completely.

I look for the way he takes his little brother's hand and holds him steady as his wobbly little legs take him across the living room.

I look for the goodnight forehead kisses after whispered bedtime stories.

I look for the silly games of peekaboo through the rearview mirror.

When I look for the little (but sweet) things my oldest does for his younger brother throughout the day, I find that the other stuff—the bad stuff—really wasn't so big after all.

Just as I've only had 11-months learning how to be a mom to two boys, my oldest has only had 11-months learning how to be a brother. To share his mom and dad, his toys, his life!

Someday I'll be gone. But it is my most sincere prayer that they will still be close. That I will have given them the tools in childhood that will help them forge their way through life.

Two paths, separate, but not far apart.

Because I don't want my boys to simply be siblings. Calling each other only on holidays or reaching out only so far as a social media like.

I want them to be brothers. From now until the end. Enjoying life together. Building each other up. Protecting. Loving.

So I look for the little things.

And, suddenly, that seems like a very real possibility.

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