I enjoy hanging out with the boys and so admit I never understood the jokes about parents celebrating the beginning of school. “What’s cooler than hanging out with the kids all day,” I thought. “I don’t get why parents are so excited about their kids being gone.”
I totally get it now.
The boys spent a lot of time together over the summer. While they were at their dad’s they shared a room and T1 was in charge of watching T2 while their father was at work. T1, when he wants to be, is extremely responsible and he did a really good job. But a 13 year old being in charge means that during the day they didn’t leave the house. T2, when asked, will tell you that he literally sat in a chair and played the video game Call of Duty for 8 to 10 hours a day. T1 slept until noon or so, because he is a teenager, and then got up, fed his brother and generally made sure the house didn’t burn down. The point is, they were together all of the time.
They came home pretty much ready to kill each other.
I always had, I think, a very good relationship with my little brother. We have the same age difference as T1 and T2. He’s the head of a good sized national organization and I wrote about our rapport for the organization’s magazine. You can read it here. Just so you know, it won second place in a contest that I wasn’t aware existed and that I didn’t know I was entered into, so I am kind of a big deal. We picked on each other a reasonable amount but we were very rarely actually at each other’s throats. I may be remembering how it was growing up through the plastic surgery of time, but I don’t think so. We still are very close and so I’m having a hard time dealing with the way the boys have been acting.
T1 and T2 came home constantly bickering. They argue. They pick at each other incessantly. T2 feels like he has carte blanche to give his brother non-stop shit. T1, having had to have been in charge for so much, has had a hard time coming to grips with the idea that he doesn’t have to run things anymore. He is unwaveringly critical. They’ve forgotten that they are supposed to be on the same team and that it doesn’t make you manly to have to boost yourself up by tearing other people down, it makes you pathetic.
It’s slow going, but progress is being made. We’ve done family activities along with splitting them off to do their own things. It’s working and I’ll probably do a handful of posts over the next couple of weeks about some of what we’ve been up to. However, the best thing for them, I think, is getting them off to school.
It gets them away from each other for most of the day. It gets us back to structure, which helps keep them so busy that they don’t get bored and revert to fucking with each other. In turn, this makes C and I less frustrated by the constant back and forth and makes us less likely to just banish them both to their respective rooms and command them not to speak to each other. T1 is fine with these edicts of zero-communication. T2 is terrible at it. T2 literally cannot even shut up if you offer to pay him for silence. I know this from experience.
They are getting so big. T1 is almost as tall as me and is becoming a young man. He was all excited about his science class, saying that his teacher for that subject was “amazing.” Yesterday T2 asked if he could walk home from the bus stop by himself. I stood up on our back deck and secretly watched him run back home. I opened the door for him, proud, and he jumped up and hugged me. I admit I got a little teary eyed.
Being away from each other is good for them. I’m not glad they are not around, but I am glad they are gone.