|A big brother is always there to listen to what you have to say, even when you only know a handful of words.
When my son was little he wanted a big brother more than just about anything. He imagined that his big brother would play with him, talk with him, and be his best friend. Had he actually had a big brother, I'm not so sure it would have been all sweetness and light as he envisioned, but that was his fantasy.
Although he never got the chance to have a big brother, he now is a big brother, a role which he takes very, very seriously. He is everything he himself wanted in a big brother. He is patient and kind. He always has a pocket full of smoke bombs. He picks the kids up from school and takes the long way home, just because he knows they like riding in his truck, and he always stops at the convenience store and lets them buy candy or gum or the icky pink milk that mom never lets them have. He plays board games with them while mom makes dinner and spins them like crazy on the tire swing in the park.
The downside of being a big brother is, of course, all the pesty things the little sisters and brothers do. One little sister broke his sunglasses. Another unraveled his dream catcher. All of them make way too much noise on weekend mornings when he's trying to sleep. And, of course, there is always the unexpected peeing or vomiting that always seems to happen with little kids, not to mention the occasional toxic diaper. He takes it all in stride, though, God bless him.
Last night he bought them water pistols and a bag of water balloons. As we stood on the porch watching them run around the lawn, squirting each other happily, I was struck once again by just how important these moments are. The future continues to be uncertain, but I have no doubt that the memories of carefree fun on a summers night will stay with these kids for a life time, thanks to the kindness and unconditional love of a big brother.