Thing1... Oh, the wars we fought between the ages of 14 and 16. This house was not a happy place during those years. He refused to clean his room, I'd raid it as I cleaned. I'd steal his drugs and alcohol, he'd pit me and his dad against each other in an argument over invading his privacy and respecting his space. He was awesomely talented at getting in trouble, turning it into a parenting battle and then stepping back to enjoy the show completely off the hook. I took his weapons, he took my cigarettes. I donated his dirty laundry for not washing it, he refused to use baby gates, I hid his weights, he stole my fish. He threatened to run away, I started packing his stuff. He drove under the influence, I pushed for rehab. I'd tattle on him for something he couldn't argue, he'd block Facebook on the computer... aw, man, the screaming matches. I don't miss those at all. and then you have the fights between kids and the battles that continued until the day he moved out. Ahhhhh, the good ol' days.
Today, I had an eye opening experience in a conversation with the Goofy One.
Goofy: Can we go somewhere?
Me: No. Thing1's coming home today.
Goofy: wait. which one?
Goofy: He's moving back in here?
Me: In this house? No.
Goofy: Then why did you say he's coming home?
Me: because he's been in Tennessee. It's a state far away from here and he's coming back today.
Goofy: Oh, he's coming back to town?
Goofy: I want him to move back here. Can he move back here?
Me: Your brother has bad habits I don't want you picking up.
Goofy: *you're stupid look* He won't. He'll just take me to the gas station, like before? and he'll buy me ice cream. and I'll ride in his car. in the front seat. *impish grin* with no car seat.
*conversation continues with car seat law and why you don't kill cops to break out of prison*
and it hit me, looking at my smallest son who looks up to his brother and cherishes their time together so much that he still talks about a trip to the gas station to get a 50 cent ice cream that happened over a year ago.... while I wasn't looking, it happened. Somewhere along the way, my boys became brothers. we became a family. I've got to tell you, it feels good.
If you had asked me just a few years ago if I would ever see the day that I would be glad to realize Thing1 is Goofy's hero, I would have laughed in your face, told you that you were freakin' insane, and hit the whiskey just considering the possibility that this juvenile delinquent would have any influence over my sweet baby.
Looking at this 19 year old man in front of me, seeing how far he has come, how much he has grown up, seeing him not only as a potential role model for his brothers but seeing him step up and take that role seriously and willingly... I am proud. I am proud to say that my oldest is my youngest's hero. I am thrilled to say that my baby wants to be just like his big brother when he grows up.
Looking at the men in his life, I think the Goofy Child has been blessed with plenty
of real life heroes that he can (and does) proudly claim are his brothers...
...and his Dad.
It was a rough ride, but I realized today that we did it. We created a family for our children.