The afternoon sun is making its way into the door that leads from my bedroom to the outside. The house is at rest--my brother and his wife and their son all sleeping off some jet lag; my non-stop three-year-old tough boy dozing without moving a muscle in his toddler bed. And my five-year-old catching the eye of my seven-month-old. In an instant, baby Simon is grinning ear to ear. This is his brother in front of him: the one that has a special smile that's reserved only for him. I put Simon down on the floor so that he and Noah can play, giving in to the fact that only one of my children will nap this afternoon.
My mourning over lost nap time is truncated in an instant. Before my eyes are two handsome little boys, separated by five years minus six days. Their eyes are alive with delight in each other. Simon crawls over Noah's leg, nuzzling his face into Noah's pants and making Noah giggle. Noah gets on the floor next to Simon and lifts his body up and down, almost like a push-up, getting squeals of surprised joy from Simon.
I read somewhere about the gift of a sibling. When we as parents feel stretched, and feel as though there is no way we could ever divide ourselves enough to meet the needs of each child that calls us mom or dad, into that tough space is inserted the beautiful blessing of a sibling.
No grown-up (or very few) would have thought to entertain Simon the way that Noah had. Five year olds are gloriously creative! It was not planned or purposeful--it was accidental and hilarious, at least according to the baby, and that warranted repetition. Likewise, no baby responds to Noah the way that Simon does. In their short seven months of being brothers, they have developed a shared consciousness of joyful interaction. So it doesn't take them much to get going. And on this sunny December afternoon, Noah is soon in tears and Simon wears himself out from giggles.
I sit and watch and am amazed.