I woke up from a nice snooze on the sofa the other evening. My son was bringing in brown paper bags from McDonald’s. My daughter was hungry and craving fast food, and he hopped in his truck without question and took her.
He knows me well enough to realize that if the robe is on, I’m in for the night. And even if a proposed activity only involves going through the drive-thru to get fries and shakes, it’s not happening.
My oldest son helps his siblings
When my younger son was planting his garden last spring, he went out to help him. He stood there staring at the pots, not really knowing what to do but I could tell his little brother didn’t care. Having his company was enough. When he lights up the grill to make a burger, he asks if they want one.
If they need a ride to a friend’s house, he’s happy to offer.
When he makes a late night pizza, he always sends them a text. I hear the ding of their phone from the comfort of their rooms and the tap of their feet usually follows.
My oldest son will be leaving us soon, and we are all going to feel it.
My daughter talks about turning his room into a large closet for herself, and is excited to take his spot in the garage but she doesn’t want him to go.
He’s slept in the room between his two siblings their whole life. He’s been the one to try everything first– school, sleepovers, riding a bike, getting a job, driving. He’s is calming to them because they’ve seen him do hard things, so they know they can too.
He hasn’t always enjoyed his spot as the oldest
My oldest son is the one who opens the pickle jars. He’s really good with directions. He taught them both how to ride a bike. He goes out and warms up the car before they get in. He’s the one who makes them laugh when they are upset or frustrated.
He hasn’t always liked being the oldest, either. He knows the job comes with more responsibility and having to put up with things like watching his younger siblings do things he had to wait to do.
He knows they are watching him and for that, he needs to lead by example, something he hasn’t always wanted to do.
I’m sorry there will only be three of us at the dinner table instead of four. I’m sorry I won’t always be up for a joyride to get junk food after it gets dark. I’m sorry I won’t always be able to open the jar or make them laugh. I’m sorry the dynamic will change and our home will be quieter.
I am really sad that he’ll be leaving us and I’m sad for me, but I’m also sad for his brother and sister.
They may not feel the void the same way I will, but I know they will feel it.
Their sibling relationship will change
Because the truth is, even if they do maintain a relationship (which I’m certain they will), it won’t be the same. It won’t be like it was this morning when I came in from my run and they were talking in the kitchen with the refrigerator open.
It won’t be like when I come home from the grocery store and he helps me carry them in and inspects everything I’ve bought. It won’t be like the other day when I was sick and I knew I could count on him to go to the store, and take his brother and sister where they needed to go.
It’s not possible to grow up with someone and then not feel the space they leave when they move out. It’s not something I can wrap my brain around just yet– my son leaving and my two younger kids feeling the effects of it all.
It will be hard for me but even harder to watch my younger kids struggle with her absence .
I know this is supposed to happen and as a young adult he has to make his way in the world. But, the fact that my younger kids older brother is growing up, and moving on is both wonderful and so sad.
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