It's late Thursday afternoon.
I've just gone to pick up Trey from Robotics at school and we're pulling in the driveway at 5:15.
Chris greets Trey when we walk in the door.
"Hey Trey, come on, let's play Airsoft!"
"No," grumbles Trey. "I don't want to."
I'm not surprised by this. Trey always needs some time to decompress when he gets home from school. He is "peopled out." Usually we set a timer for a half hour of electronics time and then he's back to himself again.
"Come on Trey, please? It'll be fun. We haven't done this for a while!" Chris pleaded, but it fell on deaf ears. Trey was having none of it.
A bit later, after Trey's electronics time and decompression, Trey began trying to engage Chris.
"Hey Chris, let's go play Zombies!"
"Nah," said Chris, "not right now. I don't really want to."
"Ah, come on! You know you want to! Just for a little while! Come on, please?" wheedled Trey, to no avail.
Following dinner, Trey tried again and this time, Chris complied. They headed up to Kate's room, which is currently serving double duty as the Gaming room while we have our basement finished.
I smiled to myself downstairs as I heard shouts of joy, or dismay, or occasionally anger while the boys played their game.
A while later, Trey came down. He smiled at me but also looked slightly annoyed. I gave him a quizzical glance.
"Oh, Chris just wouldn't put his phone down. He kept texting and he got killed by the Zombies THREE TIMES because he was texting."
I gave him a hug and a gentle smile.
"He has his first girlfriend, Trey. It's kind of taking over things a little bit right now."
"Well, I'll never let that happen to ME" he grumbled and I smiled.
"Give it time, sweetie, you might be surprised when your time comes."
A couple of hours later, I was headed upstairs to read in bed for the night.
Walking by Kate's room, I see the two boys hanging out companionably on the bed, side by side. Each of them is doing his own thing but happily and comfortably together.
After a while, Chris comes into my room and flops across my bed to say goodnight.
"I spent a lot of time with Trey tonight. I think he really liked it," he said conspiratorially.
I assured him that indeed he did and relayed to him briefly the conversation that I had had with Trey downstairs.
"What you are doing is normal and fine, and your brother is going to need time to adjust to sharing you with someone else" I said as I gave him a big hug. "He's used to you belonging to him!"
It has been a pleasure to watch the evolution of the friendship between the boys.
Rob and I both feared that there would come a time when Chris might reject Trey in favor of growing up and moving on.. that often happens in sibling relationships, at least for a time.
Instead, we see a good bit of tolerance in Chris, possibly more than is deserved sometimes.
He has taken Trey running and encouraged him to join Cross Country next year, been mostly agreeable about his Varsity baseball coach including eighth graders in Winter Training, and encouraging of Trey trying out for the play again. What this translates to is my 8th grader and my high school junior spending quite a lot of time together after school at practices and activities, not to mention the drive to and from school every day.
Hopefully over these next months of first loves, mission trips, and preparation for college, these boys will continue to foster their relationship and build bonds that cannot be broken.