Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You Can Choose Your Friends, but You Can't Choose Your Brother

They say you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family.

I'm guessing "they" had siblings, whoever they were.

Who else but a sibling can bring a person to tears simply by breathing in their general direction? Or, as I heard this morning over breakfast: HENRY IS MOVING HIS LIPS AT ME! MAKE HIM STOP MOVING HIS LIPS AT ME!!

My boys fight. ALL THE TIME. It's not as though sometimes they fight and sometimes they play nice, like sometimes it rains and sometimes it's sunny. The arguing and picking and wrestling are entangled into every aspect of the day. Sometimes it's a full out downpour and sometimes it's just a drizzle while the sun is shining, but there are always rain clouds looming overhead. They fight AND they play nice. At the same time. 

Every game of Star Wars involves a lengthy argument over who gets to be Darth Vader. The shrieks of laughter turn to screams of agony when someone is "accidentally" poked in the eye with a light saber. Of course, the recovery is quick because they are having way too much fun to actually stop playing and besides THE DEATH STAR MUST BE DESTROYED and for some unknown reason, the way to accomplish this mission is to throw your brother off the couch.

In this picture they are actually arguing over who can jump the highest.

The constant bickering can be exhausting. It sometimes makes me wonder why we didn't have our three children 18 years apart, except I suppose having a baby at 63 would probably be frowned upon, so instead here we are trying to figure out the best way to deal with incessant screams of IT'S MY TURN TO PUSH THE STROLLER!!

But sometimes, sometimes the clouds part for a moment and I feel that magnificent sun so bright it warms me from the inside out.

One morning this week I heard panicked screams coming from the boys' room. "MOOOOOMEEEEE! COME LOOK AT HENRY'S EYE! HE LOOKS LIKE A MONSTER!!!"

As I walked in the room I heard Henry state very matter-of-factly, "I not a monster! I'm Henry!"

True enough, Henry's left eye was pink, puffy and almost swollen shut, a sure sign of an infection.

Henry was oblivious to the state of his eye, but Jack, who has always been the more dramatic of the two, was quite distraught. "Can you see, Henry? CAN YOU SEE??"

Henry nodded gleefully, thrilled to be the reason for such concern.

"Is his eye going to stay like that?? WILL HE LOOK LIKE A MONSTER FOREVER? WILL HE EVER BE ABLE TO SEE AGAIN???"

I reassured him that Henry would be just fine and he probably just had pink eye and I would take him to the doctor and no, the doctor would not give him a shot in the eye.

We dropped Jack off at school and headed to the doctor, but not before Jack told everyone that Henry had a pink eye, but not to worry because he was not going to be blind.

Henry's poor, disfigured eye must have weighed heavy on Jack's mind while he was at school because at pick-up he ran out eagerly waving a piece of construction paper. He hopped in the car and handed it to Henry. "I made this for you all by myself. It says 'I am sorry that you got a pink eye, Henry.' And I drew a giraffe, cause I know you like them."

Jack does not love writing. Jack does not like giraffes. Jack especially does not like to spend his free time drawing pictures of giraffes and writing to his brother.

Henry knows this. He clutched that paper, his good eye lit up and with a big grin he softly said, "I love you, Jack!"

They say you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family.

My good friend Jesse says that your siblings are the friends God chooses for you.

I like that better.

My boys can choose their friends, but the Creator of All Things selected their little souls to travel through life together.

I'm so glad God gave them each other to care for and love. 

And occasionally throw off the couch. 


  1. this is the sweetest. love that drawing and some great writing by jack too! this post is going to be a blessing to them one day when they're older for sure! :)

  2. You have such a beautiful way with words! Somehow this is both poignant and hilarious!

  3. Well this is JUST PERFECT. Thank you Anna!

  4. Thank you for being honest about the fighting! My little guy started walking recently, and his now mobile, toy-stealing, sister-teasing self is wreaking havoc! I don't know what I was expecting, but they fight all day long, it's ridiculous. He can't even talk yet! This post is such a sweet and funny reminder of how sibling relationships work. I'm the 5th of 7 (my parents were crazy) and my siblings are, without a doubt, my very best friends. I want a bunch more kids just to make some more brothers and sisters!
    But then I hear Clara screaming because Sammy is "thinking about getting my backpack!" and I rethink my strategy a little bit :) It's worth it, it's worth it, it's worth it, I chant...

    Anyways, ha ha, thank you for sharing this!