Resisting Temptation For The Greater Good, Sort Of

My boys have had a mostly typical brotherly relationship with each other. When they interact, the older boy can be bossy and critical and the younger boy can be annoying and defensive quite often. They take turns instigating trouble. (They actually get along–or at least tolerate each other–more than they think they do, but it can get a little ugly at times.) It is sometimes very reminiscent of what was going on when I was growing up with my younger sister.

Though Julesie and I do have some really great memories (just a few include playing Barbies, watching “Donny & Marie”, recording ourselves making radio shows, and that day in the car which I still can’t talk about publicly except to say that we were listening to Michael Jackson songs), I was a really bossy big sister. I have regrets about our growing up years and I can’t go back and change anything but I am very happy that our relationship improved almost immediately after I left for college.

The idea that you always have the opportunity to change the way a relationship is going is something I’ve been trying to impress upon the boys over the past year. I’ve told them how their aunt and I did it, and how we’re so much better off for it now (to say the least). I think it’s important that they make the effort because as more time goes by and they get their own lives going, the potential exists for them to really slip away from each other.

When I’ve talked with them about this, I usually get the blank stare and the nod that tells me “Yeah, yeah, I’m tuning out now.”

I have hopeful signs that the tide might be turning, though. For one thing, I know that the younger boy has sent (the latest of many) Facebook friend request to his brother, and while he is really keeping his fingers crossed that it will finally be accepted, I know that the older boy hasn’t hit “ignore” yet, because he is thinking about it (progress).

They’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times since the older one left for college, and then, on Friday when the older boy came home for the weekend, this happened:


It totally blew my mind. It was lovely.

On Sunday evening, the older boy was at a movie with his girlfriend and I was in the living room having a conversation with the younger boy. Suddenly he noticed his brother’s backpack and his eyes lit up as he sprang from his chair and rushed over to it. I knew exactly what he was thinking: he was going to nugget it. (New to nuggeting? Watch this. I’ll wait.)

I said, “Hold on there, are you sure you want to do that?”

“But he left his backpack just SITTING here. It’s too tempting not to!”

“Remember your friend request? Remember how you two are trying to advance yourselves into a new and different, more grown-up relationship?” I implored him to think about all these things. Nuggeting is a rather small offense, I know, but in a crossroads situation like this, I advised against it.

He sat there, dramatically running his finger over the zipper and sighing heavily as he contemplated the pros and cons.

“I guess…I won’t do it,” he concluded. “But I’m going to text him and let him know that I ALMOST nuggeted him.”

Some things never change.

©2010 Suburban Scrawl

10 Comments

  • Lisa

    Progress!! My older boys (13 months apart) used to be best friends and worst enemies probably because they spent ALL their time together. But now they have developed different interests and seem pretty indifferent to each other most of the time. It makes me sad because they're way too young for that (6 and 7) and I hope it changes over time. I have a half brother and a step brother but no strong bong with either and I really hope that my boys will really feel like they have each other when they get older.

  • Carrie B

    My boys were hardly ever on the same page growing up. Now they are both in college (Fr. and Sr.)and I see they chat often via FB and twitter.
    I guess they do grow up. Ha

  • Heather

    Definitely progress! My brother and I had a pretty rough relationship growig up (his father wasn't my father and that created tension) and we pretty much hated each other. PLUS we had an almost 5 year age gap that was pretty odd too. BUT NOW? He calls & texts at least every day. I think college is a turning point for most sibs– that's when it happened for us. I am grateful for my brother– my mom reminds us daily that we are ALL each other has once our parents are gone and she has some regrets with her brother, who none of us speak to, so it hits close to home for me.. I want to keep my brother and I's relationship at this level– it's so nice having him as a friend now!

  • NYCPatty

    Can you ask younger boy if he's ever tried it with a purse? I so want to do this to my sister! It's awesome!

    Yeah we are in our 30s & somethings NEVER EVER change! LOL!

    Now its just hysterical to do stuff like this to each other!

  • Momo Fali

    I can't even imagine being at a point where my kids actually get along…even for a moment. I hope you continue to stay on the tail-end of the squabbling phase! I can't wait to get there!

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    How the heck did I miss that gem of a video last year? So funny. I love how he was running his fingers over the zipper….

  • Otter Thomas

    My brother and I are 7 years apart. I thought we were best of friends for years once he got older. But things weren't as they seemed apparently as our relationhsip has completely fallen apart. We don't speak at all. I am sure your boys will be fine, but I certainly aplaud your efforts. You never know what might happen so being proactive is a good thing.

  • Michelle

    I need to know about this incident in the car.

    Love the ummm progress. I still woulda nuggeted it though… how can you not when he leaves it just SITTING there? 😉

  • Mrs4444

    I honestly think they will peacefully coexist until they have wives who force them to connect more often; that's the way it goes, right?

    That said, Kyle offered to pick Kendall up today to go shopping (discount) and out to eat, so she is positively beaming!

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