I’m sure most parents with more than one offspring will agree: It is a puzzling mystery that two kids with a similar genetic make-up and growing up under similar circumstances can be such wildly different creatures.
Take Kid A: He is the spitting image of his father, but his mind resembles mine the most. He is a bookworm (40+ books on his reading log so far this summer!), studious, and focused. He is stubborn as all hell but also a little insecure. He is quiet, kind and caring but can explode when his feelings overwhelm him. He needs to win, pretty much all of the time, and given his older brother status, he usually does. We all suffer when he doesn’t. Also, he is a bit of a loner, just like his mama. At camp just around pick-up time, all the kids are sitting together, chatting, and eating their snacks. Julian sits by himself at a separate desk far away from the group, reading. I asked him why he doesn’t sit with the other kids, and he just said he wants to be alone to read. It’s not that he is unpopular; he is well liked by the other kids. They call his name across the schoolyard, wave to him, and give him little toys “for being one of the nicest kids in camp.” But it seems like he needs the solitude, and boy, can I relate. In that he is just like me. He also has my sense of rhythm (i.e. none) and my inability to tell a lie. I see myself in him so much, and it hurts a little bit to think that he isn’t heading down the easy, carefree road, but rather a road paved with insecurity and self-doubt and a sprinkle of loneliness. He’s been very emotional this summer and acting out more than usual, and I know it is because he is working through a lot. I’m excited for him that school will begin soon and he will be back in his element. School, books, and soccer – these are Julian’s favorites.
Then there is Kid B. This guy resembles me a bit more with the same light blond hair I used to have, similar features, and the fact that he is ridiculously tall. But that’s where the similarities end. He has his father’s creative spirit and wit. He is carefree, sweet, and funny. He plays with Julian for hours and is (almost) never upset for being slower or for shooting less goals. At camp, Arthur walks down the halls, and random counselors – people I have never met before – walk up to him and give him a hug or a high five. He bounces up and down each day at pick-up, excited to tell me about his adventures. After dinner he puts on dance performances for us. At first it was Drake’s summer hit “In My Feelings”, and now he is amusing us with his moves to “The Middle” by Zedd. I can’t stop smiling when I see him dance. He has the spring in his step I never had in my entire life. The ability to dance as if no one is watching – even though everyone is watching. He has an enormous amount of confidence about him, which is even more impressive to me because he is still so very speech delayed. It just can’t stop him. He amazes me every day, and I admit: he’s a bit of a wildcard in my life. I can’t wait to see how he’ll do in school come September. He’s excited at the prospect of school, but then there are very few things in life he is not excited about.
This summer has been such a learning curve for all of us, but mostly for the boys who had to step out of their comfort zones and try something new. I learned so much about them just by observing. They are both so unique and different from each other, and yet the strongest bond they have is the one they share with each other. They spend all their free time together: playing, plotting, driving us crazy and making our hearts burst all at the same time. We are the luckiest to have these creatures in our lives.