Tuesday, February 23, 2016

cheese sandwiches

Nicholas and Elliott have five full years between them, almost to the day.  That's a very big difference, in body, mind, focus, and endeavors.  One is growing into that extended body, extended mind, pushing himself toward growing mastery, seeing just what he can do with his body and mind and with what lays before him.  While the other is still soft and playful and enjoying the nesting stage, and, well, making snowballs in the snow while his brother whizzes past.

Julia is almost exactly two and a half years between each of them.  The cheese in their sandwich, we sometimes say.  And cheese is actually quite a good description.  She can be the glue that binds , the one that can go either way, joining in the activities and interests that either her younger or older sibling might be offering toward the family buffet of activities.  Or offering up something of her own inclination that either or both brothers think sounds like an excellent way to pass some time together.

So when this cheese is absent, sometimes it can feel as though you have just two pieces of bread, you know?  Two who need to figure out how to enjoy each other.  The amazing thing is just how often this happens.  When Cheese, and I am enjoying referring to Julia as Cheese right now, so bear with me, was at several weeks of basketball practices for a few hours on each half day of school, it was a bit bumpy at first.  But not for long.

Delicious warm sandwiches have gone a long way toward half day joy. And by sandwiches, I do mean sandwiches.  Not sandwiches.  If I am really on the ball, there's freshly baked bread to make them with.  There is a bit of an unexpected sandwich theme going here, so let's just go with it.  And, in true 14 year old style, a bag of decadently unhealthy potato chips to go beside these sandwiches can make me very popular.

Also?  Freshly fallen snow.  That helps bring two bookends together, pulling them towards center, towards each other.  And a dog who acts like a puppy in the fluff.

It helps if the older brother is patient, and remembers that he, too, often needed to have an unnecessary snowball in his hand at all times.  Because snow that is sticky is awesome.

And irresistible to elderly puppies.

There can be joy in coming together and finding that middle place with one another.

But patience is limited.  And does not necessarily extend to serving as one's personal tow rope.

It all makes a trip to your older brother's orthodontist appointment kind of okay.

And the sitting in the waiting room reminds me, again, of the difference, and sameness, that five years makes.  In five more years these moments of togetherness will be much harder to find.  For now, big and still little sit next to each other.  Teeth that are still falling out beside teeth that are being moved into their adult positioning.  What each is reading, the clothing, the changes to body shape and skin.  Five years between them.  And yet, so much between them, actually.  

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