More on brotherly love
I was on my way downstairs after church, headed into the kitchen to make English muffin pizzas for the next activity – a Boy Scout meeting to work on one of the kids’ religious emblems.
As I passed through the children’s fellowship area, there were a couple of teen-aged brothers rolling around on the floor with my youngest, who likes to sit with his “big friends” during the service.
“Why does he always sit with them?” My middle son had asked me just that morning. “Oh, probably because they’re nice to him,” I answered matter-of-factly. He just looked at me.
The Bigs were tossing balloons around.
I don’t remember why, but when my oldest approached me with a “Hi Mama,” I asked, “Who do you think felt worse – Abel, Cain, or their parents?”
“Well, I wonder…he’s dead. Do you think he felt much of anything?”
“Oh, I mean Cain!”
“Yeah…I wouldn’t have wanted to be him. But I can also imagine how sad their parents would be…” I kept walking towards the kitchen as my oldest bopped my middle son on the head with a balloon.
I was poking around the kitchen, trying to get organized and find all the ingredients and tools I’d need. I’d only cooked in this kitchen once before and wasn’t sure where everything was. Not long after, one of the big friends came in with my youngest who was crying.
“What happened?” I asked.
My youngest sobbed, “My brother…pillows; on top of…breathe”
His big friend tried to fill in the blanks, “sat on him with…his face; he couldn’t.”
“Oh,” I said as I scooped my youngest up onto my left hip. “Thank you,” I said to the big friend and abandoned him and the project in the kitchen, while my youngest clung to me like a little koala bear. “Are you okay? Where’s your lovey?”
“Yeah-ah-ah…” he said as he popped his thumb in his mouth. I spied his lovey in the bench in the children’s hall and snatched it up as I stalked through looking for his brother.
I saw him sitting at the craft table with his forehead down on his folded arms.
My pace slowed and I whispered to my youngest, “It looks like your brother’s in self-imposed exile, honey.” It appeared that my middle son was, indeed, very remorseful. I slipped my right hand around his little bicep. He did not move or look up, but instead sniffled.
“Are you okay, honey?”
“No. He always…everyone said…no one likes…”
“Hmmm.” I sat down in the chair next to my middle son facing away from the table with my youngest in my lap. We sat in silence for a good while – my hand remained resting on my middle son’s arm, my youngest’s face now nestled against my neck. Our breathing became synchronized even though other children in the room were making a joyful noise with balloons and pillows.
Momentarily, I said, “It sounds like you two have something to talk about,” as I stood up and slid my youngest off my lap and into the chair next to his brother. “I’ll be in the kitchen.”
When I returned, there was another mom bustling around. “Is everything okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, I am not sure who needed comforting more…and it just breaks my heart to see how my kids fight sometimes, when other times they can be so sweet together…”