Friends Now (Ode to an Older Brother)

You are eight and five. You are friends now.

Yesterday I listened from the kitchen as you said,
“Here, Ada. You be this guy!”
And you lost yourselves together in imagination; the round couch your castle,                          the pile of stuffed animals your cohorts.

From the very beginning you were fascinated by this little sister.                                              She was enamoured with you.
She sat in the baby chair in her fuzzy pink Cookie Monster sleeper,
her blue eyes concentrated on you,
her favourite.

When she cried it upset you and you begged me for “a two-arm hug, momma,”
Not understanding that you had to share me.

You started playing together, sort of,
When she was about 12 months old.
She trotted along behind you, fascinated by you, frustrated when she couldn’t keep up with your manic pace.

Your painstakingly built Lego pirate ship smashed to the ground by a curious two-year-old was the next step; your face crumbled as you screamed “THAT BABY wrecked it again!”                                                                                                                                                            And again.
And again.
But you wanted to be with her. You didn’t want to sit alone in your room where the toys were protected and quiet.

Now she is five. You are eight.

“Wait for me, Benny!” she calls, racing behind you on her rainbow bike, determined to keep up. Only she is allowed to call you Benny.

You have raging fights when things aren’t fair.
There is hitting and yelling, whining and alone time.

But you love each other.
She wraps her tiny arms around your neck and squeezes, pulling you in tightly.
“My Benny,” she says. You smile and gruffly answer,
“I love you too, Ada.”

Soon she will follow you to your school.
She will be just down the hall, peeking into your classroom door on her way to the library.
The fears and loneliness she had at preschool will be dampened because
You are there.

 

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