Friday, May 18, 2012

Being the Sibling

One recent evening, bedtime was a bit difficult, okay it was a major issue, for Little Brother. He went into one of his moods: dawdling, in his own world, stubborn, defiant, proud, disobedient. It had been a long week and I was frustrated and tired with husband out traveling for work all week.

Little Brother pushed my limits, so I reacted and I told him to get on his pajamas and get in bed. No books, no lotions. When I told him I still loved him even though I needed to give him a consequence I was mostly tired and angry.  As he lay with covers pulled up to his chin, body curled into a fetal position, eyes stubborn with unshed tears...well, I gazed at him, right into his eyes and my heart just broke for him.

My precious little boy: only 6 yet so strong willed. So resilient.  I scooped him up on my lap and hugged him tightly and gently rocked him.  With a quiet gentle voice I whispered, “Is it hard for you being his little brother?”

The dam of tears burst forth and his body shook as he whimpered “Oh yes, mommy!”

He’s only 6. Just six years of life, yet he’s had to bear so much: abandonment, neglect, orphanage, trauma, relocating to a foreign country, Celiac, and a big brother with FASD. Is it any wonder he is strong willed and defiant: it’s his only way to survive what life has thrown at him!

I told him how proud I am of him for being so kind and patient with brother; how I appreciated that he didn’t tease brother or make fun of brother; that he was so compassionate and loving; and that God had picked him as the most perfect brother that Big Brother could ever want. I told him he was such a gift to our family and to brother.

I’m not sure that my words impacted him as much as the tone of my voice, my holding him and rocking him did.

It was good for me to have these moments when something breaks through my weary every-day-mundane routine and I’m able to see beyond Little Brothers stubborn, stand-your-ground-defiant attitude.

I need the reminders that Little Brother is tender and only 6; that his attitude is his protection and defense; that my soft words, my communication and my touch will go much farther with him than a consequence ever will.

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