Dear Bennett and Andrew,
A common question people ask me when they see you is, “Are they twins?” I always answer the same way – “No, they are a year and a half apart.” The question that follows is often, “Do they get along?” I respond a little too candidly – “Most of the time.” I answer this way because of situations like the other day. I selfishly tried to go to the bathroom by myself, and just as I shut the door, I heard a blood curdling scream coming from the living room. So I abandoned my task and came running to the scene, hoping I would actually seeblood. Instead, I saw Andrew smugly holding a small truck, and Bennett still screaming that it had been taken from him. Meanwhile, at least 30 other trucks surrounded you, scattered on the floor like newly fallen apples that nobody wanted to pick up and eat.
There may not have been any blood, but had I not come in when I did, one of you would have a truck smashed into his forehead and the other would have a sizeable bite mark somewhere on his body.
So, to say you get along “most of the time” seems like an accurate response. But, I realize it leaves something else out. Even at your young ages of 4 and 2, you already know what it means to be brothers. It started simply by using the word in a sentence, like the first time you introduce someone as your “fiancé” instead of your boyfriend or girlfriend. Bennett began introducing Andrew before Andrew could speak for himself – “Hi, I’m Bennett. I’m 3. This is my brother, Andrew. He’s 1.”
Sometimes, Bennett will ask me to do things on Andrew’s behalf – “Mommy, can you get my baby brother a glass of water?” Sometimes, Andrew will stick up for Bennett in front of another toddler – “It’s my brother’s turn on the slide.” I find it the most interesting when you refer to each other as “brother” even when all 3 of us are sitting right there and it’s not really necessary – like the other day when I wouldn’t let Bennett eat his entire bucket of Halloween candy and Andrew asked me emphatically, “Why are you being so mean to mybrother?”
People talk about sibling rivalry because it is the type of arguing only capable by siblings – the hair pulling, arm biting, screaming until you can’t scream any louder, I hate my sibling right now and I’m making my parents crazy, kind of fighting. My sister and I fought this way well into high school. But just as often as you turn on each other, you stand up for each other in the most meaningful ways – holding hands while walking down the stairs, trading ice cream cones when you’re half way through, encouraging the other to try the new meal I prepared. My wish for both of you is that you continue to be proud to call one another “brother” – and from now on, when asked the question, “Do they get along?” I will respond more simply and appropriately, “Yes.”