A brief conversation this week with Child #5:
Destination: a meeting that included childcare in a nearby room
For the past several months, whenever we’d go someplace requiring cooperative play, the little boys inevitably would end up in a fight, and I would have to pull them apart and leave with the youngest one (usually) flailing at my hip, brows furrowed, tears streaming down his cheeks, with the older one following behind in a huff. But now that the oldest of the two (5) is in kindergarten, the youngest is a bit lost. I came back from my meeting this week (see above) to find him on the floor of that same playroom that had doubled as a summertime boxing ring, a blanket laid over him, no fight in him at all.
Life is more carefree for my “baby” these days, less tension-filled, but in the mind and heart of my little one, something’s not quite right. A big chunk is missing. Even as I write this, the school kids have returned home and the younger two are arm in arm engaged in a game of Batman and Joker. They are sharing toys they both received at different times from McDonald’s, having happily agreed to a temporary swap. And most heartening of all, despite all the new friends he’s made at school, the older one seems to appreciate the younger one as much as the reverse — at this moment anyway.
Sometimes a little space can do wonders. Sometimes, absence does make the heart grow fonder. And while I know this hour of peace and harmony eventually will erode, for now, I can accept it as the gift it is. It also reminds me that even though I don’t always get along with my family members every hour of the day, each of them brings a richness to my life that would be sorely missing if they were to leave. Eventually, most of them will, I know. I’m just glad it’s not likely to happen all at once.