by Stefani on 31-March-2009

Once, when the oldest boys were 2 and 3, we got this idea that they needed alone time. We decided that Daddy would take one boy and I would take the other and we would go our separate ways and do something special, give them some one on one time. 

It failed miserably. They cried something awful when we separated them, and they spent the entire "date" being teary and wistful in a "wonder what brother's doing?" kind of way. We haven't tried that since. 

My guys are best buds, giggling and whispering into the night, wanting to all sleep in one room even though they each have their own. I love that. 

They are a team. If one has lost a privilege for some reason, the other two will stand in solidarity with him. As in, "fine, if brother can't go, we aren't going either!"

They are generous with each other. My oldest spent months memorizing verses to earn "shares" to spend at the Awana store. When he had saved up a sufficient amount, he spent it ALL on his brothers. He bought them play doh and bubbles and balsa wood planes. He didn't buy a thing for himself. 

They help each other. One of the coolest parts of homeschooling is seeing the older two help Ryder along. They are gentle and encouraging to him. He counts on his brother's wisdom and values it in a way that is so neat to watch. 

Now don't get me wrong, they bicker on a near daily basis, but when push comes to shove, they are tighter than tight. 

And that makes me both terrified and overjoyed. 

Terrified because I can see already that the teen years are going to be tough if they decided to gang up on their poor old Mom and Pop. Why am I imagining two of them distracting us while one sneaks off with his best girl? 

But then their relationship gives me so much comfort too. It makes me so glad to know that as they grow, in those times when they don't feel like talking to Mama or Papa, they have a brother at their side, you know?

 I love knowing that no matter where they wind up in life they have a friend that knows them intimately and loves them completely. Someone who has shared their life and will stand with them whatever may come. A brother. Better still, TWO brothers. 


nytesong March 31, 2009 at 8:05 am

It’s so nice that they can be close. So often, brothers are not. My younger brothers didn’t get along when they were 2 and 3. Not when they were 12 and 13. And now at 18 and 19 they despise each other. I can only hope that time and adulthood will bring about that closeness that they have not yet had.

Lia March 31, 2009 at 8:05 am

Ohhh- that is so awesome. I wish my boys were there. They love each other and they often have fun together, but they’re nitpicky with each other and tattle so much. We went wrong somewhere in their upbrining and I wish we could undo it. We’re trying. I can’t wait to read this to them. Maybe it will enlighten them and they’ll see the errors of their ways! But, I won’t hold my breath.

amyp March 31, 2009 at 8:06 am

That’s certainly a gift that will last a lifetime. I’m the oldest of 6 kids, and mom always said that it was her greatest joy to see the relationships develop among us. When she died a few years ago, we were all so very thankful for our closeness and comfort — and many, many people close to our family commented on it as well.

Kelly March 31, 2009 at 8:17 am

I love this post!
I’m really close with my sisters and am so happy to see that my three guys are experiencing the same thing with each other. Hopefully it lasts!

Kate March 31, 2009 at 8:36 am

Yes, Yes.
We have this at our house too and it is the most wonderful thing to be witness to.

Stefani March 31, 2009 at 8:44 am

Oh Amy!
I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, but so FILLED UP to hear about the comfort that you and your siblings can offer each other. I was thinking of that when I wrote this post… that even when I am gone, they will have each other. That means so much to me. I know that it must please your mother so much to know that none of you is left alone.

Lorilee Kopp March 31, 2009 at 8:53 am

wonderful isn’t it? knowing that they will always have each other. for the rest of their lives long after we are gone. homeschooling does make for some super warm cozy kiddos.

Jaime March 31, 2009 at 9:16 am

My kids are the same way – although I have a girl and two boys. It was one of the reasons that we decided to homeschool. I want to foster their closeness.

Stefani March 31, 2009 at 9:19 am

You know I definitely don’t want to come off all “homeschooling is the only way to go” but it really does help when it comes to sibling relationships. I mean honestly, when your sibs are your peer group, you don’t have much choice but to learn to be friends.

sistermama March 31, 2009 at 9:45 am

What a great post, this is my current number one reason why we are homeschooling. My 6yo son and 4yo daughter sure can bicker, but they spend the bulk of their day playing together and always are each others’ champions!

elissa March 31, 2009 at 9:52 am

oh, i hope and pray this for mine. please God, if they are going to gang up on me in anyway… let it be with each other.

Sam March 31, 2009 at 11:17 am

That is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing. A perk of homeschooling that we were delighted to find out in our home too 🙂

jessica March 31, 2009 at 12:00 pm

So beautifully put, Stephani. The relationships I hope my kids develop with each other is really the driving force behind our decision to keep our kids out of school. I love that their “peer group” all lives within these 4 walls and that the “peer pressure” wielded gives them all the freedom to be exactly who they are.

Jennifer March 31, 2009 at 12:05 pm

That is really cool!

Rachel L March 31, 2009 at 12:40 pm

What a lovely post. I only have 2 boys & with a 5 year age gap but they adore each other and it makes me happier than anything to know they will always have a best friend in each other (despite the inevitable bickering!). By the way, we don’t homeschool and my eldest is about to move up to secondary school in September so they won’t even be at the same school then. But I truly hope they will stay as close as they are now.

Kris March 31, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Oh reading this on an already teary day does me in!
My younger two, ages 7&8 are there.. best of buds, inseparable, still sharing a room. The oldest is 13 and often has little patience for that 5 year gap, wishing they were more mature. I reassure her as often as possible that it will happen.. and pray that as adults they are all three very close.
Having grow up a “lonely only” it is my joy to have a house full of kids & friends. I see that same joy in your words and pictures. Thank you so much for sharing.

Relyn March 31, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Over the years, I’ve seen so many different kinds of sibling relationships. I think I can say with real accuracy – they relate like this becuase of the examples and standards Mama and Papa set. Congratulations to you both. This post makes me want a sister of my own.

Carolyn March 31, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Aw, makes me sentimental. That is great they are so close! I hope it is that way always. Seems like it will be. 🙂

Joanne March 31, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I’ve read your blog for a long time, but never commented (shame on me) but I just had to with this post. We just had our third son last week. Our other boys are 2 and “almost four”. We tried the alone time thing, too. I had our two year old who cried and asked about his brother the whole time. From what I hear from Daddy, it was the same thing for the older boy, too. Our oldest boy even asks the doctor for an extra sticker for his brother if he isn’t along for moral support. With brother number three and post-partum hormones, I was starting to slip into “alone time” mode…..which was thankfully failing miserably again. I share your terror and your joy. Brotherly love is a beautiful thing to see, especially when you so dearly love the boys involved. Many blessings on your journey, and thank you for all the encouragement your site gives us on ours!

Kayla Grace March 31, 2009 at 3:50 pm


Martha March 31, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Oh my goodness, to Lia, I you may not have failed somewhere along the way. I think it just has to do with personalities. My two girls, 4 and 7, nit pick at each other constantly, but really stand up for each other when an outsider threatens.

Stefani March 31, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Oh I agree! Please don’t beat yourself up. I know a lot of loving parents whose kids just clash. I also know a lot of siblings who once drove each other nuts and are now the best of friends! Hang in there!

Miko's Girl March 31, 2009 at 7:15 pm

My girls are like this as well. Sometimes I think it is because they are so close in age (20 months apart) but I think it is just luck. My desire is that they will be each others’ best friend when they grow up – unlikely, but I can dream…

Do the boys friends have a problem with their closeness? As we approach tweenhood, some of G’s friends resent C. taggin along.

Mary Smith March 31, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Beautiful post, Stefani. My girls have quite a tight relationship. I can’ wait to see it evolve. I always wished I had had a sister.

Annie March 31, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I always love to hear about siblings that are far apart in age and still close. Our only child is five now and will probably be six before we have the chance to give her a sibling- stories like yours make me feel a whole lot better about that!

kate March 31, 2009 at 9:48 pm

ah – so sweet. Our boys are hot cold – the cold really get’s on my heart – but when it’s sweet, it’s sweet. If only I don’t strangle the older boy when he hurts the little over and over…I hope it blossoms, and I’ve already been planning homeschool, but the sibling relationship is yet another plus.

Rachel L April 1, 2009 at 12:09 am

TypePadHey Annie, lots of people told us not to have a big age gap as they “wouldn’t get along” but it was exactly the gap we wanted and I think because we were so positive about it (and also kept telling our son how much his baby brother loved him) it has never been a problem for us. So yes, bigger age gaps can be great!
Rachel x

Kobey April 1, 2009 at 6:03 am

I have 2 year old twins (boy/girl) and a 4 year old daughter. They are close especially when it is some combination of 2 – really any combination of 2. 3 can be great or tricky. Right now the twins share a room – my 4 year old is desperate to change things so she shares with her sister. My son dissolved into a pool of tears over this concept.

I am surprised how often folks want to separate the twins so they can be more “normal”. “Normal” doesn’t seem better…. at least to this Momma

Cassandra April 1, 2009 at 7:14 am

Oh, the love between siblings. Every time I see my girls giggling together, Ember protecting Aislyn from the older kids, it just makes my heart swell up. Yes, so glad they have one another…

renee April 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm

That is truly a beautiful thing. I hope the same for my kids.

Dawn April 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm

My daughter has never had a real nurturing personality… it is just starting to develop now that her little brother can play along a little more…
It is slow and a long time coming… but coming!
My brother used to peck me constantly… now we get along great! There is always hope!

J.T. April 2, 2009 at 6:31 am

I think the best thing a parent can do for a child is to give them a sibling! Growing up an only child, I always wanted to have a sibling to connect with and to pass on family memories with. I can only imagine the bond/connection that siblings share – what an amazing blessing your sons have and it sounds like you and your husband are doing a wonderful job at helping them to create many fun memories!

kerrie April 4, 2009 at 2:54 am

Yes, we did the same thing,We were told ‘make sure you give the boys one on one’. It never worked, they would always say ‘I wish (brother) was here, he would love that’.
I guess it’s a bit like how I feel when one child is away, not quite whole.
It’s so nice that they recognise that feeling of what a family can be and is.

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