Friday, June 13, 2008

Big Brothers

Probably just about exactly 18 years ago, I came home from a prenatal appointment and was met at the door by my five year old son who demanded to know whether the doctor had told me the gender of the new baby. I smiled at him because I knew that after two sisters, this answer was very important to him.

"It's a boy," was the answer--he closed his eyes, tilted his head toward the sky and said "How did God know just what I wanted."

He was an incredible big brother, every bit as responsible as Henry Alden from The Boxcar Children
In fact, if circumstances were ever such that he and his three siblings were living in a boxcar, they would have been just fine. I remember one day after reading the first book, he asked if we could have bowls of bread and milk for dinner. We did.

The children searched every old home we ever happened into looking for a wardrobe that they could use as a passageway to Narnia and Ethan was always ready to don a beaver coat and become Peter.

He was always Kermit when the kids played Muppet Babies and in the stories that I told them sitting under our elm tree, he was Blue Feather, a little native american boy with 3 little siblings. He was always the first one to do everything and to make sure that his siblings were safe when they tried it. I honestly think Ethan did at least as much parenting as I did over the years (and I'm not especially proud of that).

Well, the big brother is an engineer now, all grown up and living in another state with a wonderful wife and a few days ago invited his little brother to come out and spend some time over the summer living and working. Sometimes it's a good thing just to get out of Dodge--so I'll put the teenager on a plane this weekend with a hope and a prayer.


Anonymous said...

That sounds like a good thing for Archie. Does his brother know what he's getting into?

KGMom said...

Oh Beth--that is a very sweet story. Kids say stunning things at times, don't they? When we told our son, then age 9, that I was pregnant--he said--good, now I won't be an only child. Who knew that even bothered him?
He, too, has been a great big brother to our daughter.

Jayne said...

What a wonderful brother Ethan was and still is... how great that they are still close and can enjoy time together. Such a blessing! :c)

Beth said...

Louis, full disclosure was provided

kgmom, thanks--it's awful sweet to watch--love for each other is the best thing we can give our children.

Jayne, a blessing indeed, thanks.

beckie said...

I think God in his infinite wisdom brings certain children into the world first. He knows they will be the big ones, always ready to help the younger ones. And as for parenting-we don't have a choice I think. That was they way it was supposed to be. I know you are very proud of all your children-you can read it in your words. You have a right to be. Big brothers can get through where mothers can't. I'll say a little prayer too.

Ruth said...

What a lovely family post. And how special that your eldest son was so good at nurturing his siblings. I hope they stay close throughout their lives, even if they live far apart.

Thomas F. Ryan said...


I'll trade my five big brothers (and throw in my three big sisters as well) for your youngest's big brother.

The Texican said...

Well, I'm sure they'll survive each other. I know it's a welcome relief.


I'm the oldest of two, and there were times I wanted to trade in my little brother from someone--or something--else.

Over the years, and due in part to family troubles, he and I became best friends, and I have often called him for advice or for help with my writing. He calls me for amusement. I am truly grateful God never answered my prayers for a brother exchange!

Kathiesbirds said...

Sounds like a great kid! You should be proud of him.

Beth said...

Beckie, I think you are right--I could write a book on birth order my kids all seem to be textbook examples of where they are in the family--it's kind of scary.

Ruth, thank you Ethan is a good big brother--you have twins--I always wanted twins, do they look out for each other?

Tom, you are funny--as the youngest you could probably relate to the one that is giving me heartaches. Any youngest child advice?

Texican, It will be nice to know that he is safe and seeing some new horizons.

Keanan, siblings are mighty special--I have a barely younger brother too and would have traded him for a hamster but am glad I didn't.

Kathie, I am. :)

TheElementary said...

This just reminded me that when my brother and I were little we spent hours in the back garden looking for treasures after reading King Arthur stories. So full of hope :) I always went with him and helped him to dig big holes in the ground.
It does change your childhood if you have a big brother- most definitely.

Anonymous said...

This "Big Brother," is just what "Your son," needs! I'm sure you can guess who posted this.