They're brothers, ages 10 and 7.  They share a bedroom, a love for soccer, a penchant for skateboarding, and a tendency toward violence of the brotherly kind.  They are mortal enemies and the best of friends, the pendulum often swinging from friend to enemy and back to friend again within 60 seconds.

They're both athletic dynamos.  The older of the two is lean, small, and lightning-fast.  The younger is tall, thick, and strong as an ox. 

Last night, after an especially vigorous session of carpet wrestling, I heard them pause, breathless, to formulate impressive plans.  They determined that they would take the professional soccer world by storm someday, two feisty brothers who would team up to strike fear in opponents.  The oldest would be the speedy, agile Scorer Of Many Goals.  The youngest would be the brick-wall goalie around whom no ball would fly.

Then they went back to the floor for more wrestling, until I went in to interrupt and tell them it was time to head to bed.  We sat on the couch, mom in the middle, for bedtime prayers.  Their sweaty, smelly heads leaned in on my shoulders.  They were still out of breath.  It was the first moment of quiet that room had seen in hours.

The oldest said his prayer, and then I said mine.  And then the youngest, in a voice thick with sincerity, said softly, "Thank you, God, that my brother and I enjoy each other."

I caught my breath.  Yes, thank you, I thought.  Then–I couldn't help it–I peeked open my eyes at the two boys, still sitting at my side.  Something settled over them. 

They were struck by the moment, too. 

The oldest looked over at his little brother, affection unmistakably written on his face.  He gently, quietly nudged him with his elbow.  The youngest returned the glance, and the nudge. 

There was a perfect pause.

And then, at exactly the same moment, they erupted into grunts and laughter, diving for each other and heading straight for the carpet.  I think the .7 miliseconds of tenderness was all they could bear. 

I watched them, smiling, observing to myself that the moment had surely passed.

Or had it?  I'm inclined to think–to hope–that a moment like that settles deeply in the hearts of two sweaty boys.  It surely settles deeply in the heart of their mother. 

115 thoughts on “Brothers

  1. TransitionGirl says:

    siblings are one of the best friends one can have… and worst enemies. So glad that your boys can appreciate their deep friendship since young, i’m sure when they grow up, they will be the best of brothers, supporting, teasing, wrestling (boys will still be boys) and loving each other. so precious.

  2. Stretch Mark Mama says:

    Sniff sniff sniff! My boys (7, 4) act just like that, are built just like that, and love/hate each other with the same level of intensity. I see them together and I can’t imagine a more perfect gift than who they are to each other.

  3. Brenda says:

    My kids (boy and girl) have always gotten along fabulously except for a little bump at 12 and 15. Sibling love is one of the best gifts our kids can give us. Its unity, Christs love manifested and hope for the future.

  4. Michelle says:

    That is just incredible sweet. What a perfect reflection of the core values and The Lord’s love that they are filled with in your home.
    I have a slew of boys and although they have their moments….(and believe me….those are some intense “moments”!!)…there is a unity that nothing in this world will never come between them.
    Enjoy every moment…you are a great mama!

  5. Kim says:

    Oh I love those little moments and the fact that you got to witness one was great!!! My boys are 3 years apart as well and when they happen to have those “moments” I treasure them in my heart forever.
    Big hugs.

  6. Michaela says:

    My boys are 5 and 4, and so far, so good. What a neat moment for your boys last night. I got goose bumps reading your post. Thanks!

  7. jubilee says:

    Someone once said that the bond between siblings is greater even than the bond between mother and child. After a sweet post like this, I am inclined to believe it.
    The closest my two boys have gotten to an admission of this sort is when my oldest walks in the door from a long day at school and my youngest jumps up and down screaming in excitement that his “brudder” is home!

  8. Tara says:

    Isn’t that the best!? Growing up I did not have good sibling relationships and my husband is an only child so he didn’t have a clue. When we were pregnant with our first that is one thing that I remember praying earnestly for, good sibling relationships with future children. And you know what? God has answered those prayers. My boys and their sister are the best sibs in the world. It’s so great.

  9. Robyn (3girlsmom) says:

    Oh my goodness did you not just bawl your eyes out? I mean, the “that is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen” kind of bawl.
    My youngest 2 girls, who are 16 months apart from each other, are just getting old enough to prefer each other over anyone else. They’re 3 & 2. I know my time will come when they are hitting each other with hairbrushes and flat irons. But right now they are pure giddy when one has been away and they see each other for the first time. It’s awesome.

  10. Loretta says:

    Beautiful. I am finally starting to see glimmers of that from my boys. (In between the times they declare to eachother “I’m not your friend right now…I’m only your friend on Tuesdays.”)

  11. Lydia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am due in June with my second boy, they will be not quite 4 years apart. I hope they have will have the same relationship as your boys do. I would love to read a post about how to raise boys, if you feel up to it in the near future. πŸ™‚ Any help I can get in that department would be wonderful.

  12. Trixie says:

    How beautiful,thank you for sharing. My sisters and I were mortal enemies and best friends. I remember one time I was so angry with them that I asked my mom if I didn’t have to see them ever once I was a grown up.
    She smiled and said I would never, ever have to see them once I was a grown up. Now, my sisters are my closest friends (with none of the mortal enemy stuff) and I can’t imagine not seeing them!
    Take Care,

  13. Jen says:

    I have two boys and they sound much like yours. I’m thankful for them and that they are friends as well as sparring partners.
    Thanks for a great post, reminding us to pause and be grateful.

  14. Linda Sue says:

    Wonderful “moment” – my older brother and I were often at odds when we were kids – I was the spoiled baby and he felt wronged – he was the indulged big brother and got to do everything I couldn’t do. Now we are in our 60’s (holy moley that sounds old!) and there is no more staunch friend/ally on earth than my brother.

  15. Rachel says:

    *tear* What are you doing to me? I’ve been spending hours a day trying to justify having only one child and you shattered my resolve in three minutes.
    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful tender moment!

  16. Michele says:

    I would have bawled my eyes out for days. Mine are 12, 11 and 8. The 12 yr old is crazy over the 8 yr. old. Kisses his head. Middle one is stuck in the middle but oh so sweet.

  17. Linda says:

    It was right about the time my two boys were exactly those ages that my heart gently asked the Father to please freeze time for just a while.
    Unfortunately it didn’t happen and they are now grown men with little children of their own. Treasure these moments Shannon. They are so precious. Sometimes I look at these fine young men with little ones in their arms and wonder for a brief moment how it could possibly be. Where did the years go?

  18. AMi says:

    Oh my goodness, thank you for that thought. My boys, 5 1/2 and 4 and 4, always fight, yet I know they love each other. One day, they’ll know it, too.

  19. ran says:

    That brought tears to my eyes – tears of memory. I have those two sweaty boys, too. But my boys are now 28 and 26. They were the same wrestling, snarling/next minute arm over their shoulders, defending each other, brother lovers. Now they are best friends, living in the same town. They see each other almost daily, play ball together, and THANKFULLY, have loving wives that love each other, and love the fact that their husbands are truly best friends. I have often wanted to peek at their cell phones, just to see how often they call or text each other. It is many times a day; just a “did you see the score of the game?” kind of thing.
    It makes a mama so proud to know that they continue to weather the storms together.

  20. MM says:

    I’m 20 weeks pregnant with our 2nd miracle. My firstborn will be 22 months when this one comes along. And THIS, your post, is exactly what I hope for them! My husband was the only boy and I was the only girl. So we’re both looking forward to our boys growing up together with a close knit relationship, the good, bad, and ugly.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Brought tears to my eyes. My two boys are 6 and 8 and are also the best of friends and the best of enemies. In a moment of insincere hatred the other day, my 8yo said, “I wish Jacob wasn’t in this family.” That’s when his dad and I started listing all of the things he enjoys with his brother by his side. What would life be without him? Terribly sad. There wasn’t as tender of a moment as you witnessed between your boys, but at least he got the point.

  22. Jamie says:

    What a great story. It brought tears to my eyes and I only hope that my 3 girls will feel the same way about each other. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    Speaking as a sister to two brothers, I think it does settle.
    My brothers are six years apart in age and they fought CONSTANTLY growing up. My Mom, who grew up as an only child, was terrified our family would be fractured forever. But then, they grew into adults, and now they are great friends. Those little moments of kindred spirits are very sticky.

  24. Jeff Shaw says:

    That’s a great tribute. I think kids (especially boys) are much more outwardly tender than they used to be, when I was a terror – 40 someodd years ago.
    That’s a good thing.
    P.S. If you let them read this blog post, you’ll never hear that kind of love again! πŸ™‚

  25. LifeAtTheCircus says:

    Beautiful post, brought tears to my eyes. Each night when I pray for my kids I pray that the Lord would call them to Himself, that they would from a young age have a passion and hunger for Him and I also pray that the 3 of them would be life long friends. That is my mothers prayer.

  26. Sarah W says:

    Wow, what a sweet story. I loved reading it! Those tender moments are ones we only could have dreamed of before children (or in the midst of conflict LOL)
    If its any encouragement, my husband and his brother grew up like that….best friends, enemies, best friends. And to this day, they are best friends. They still wrestle….at 6’6″ and 6’4″ and each 280 pounds, it is quite a sight….and dangerous for anyone in the same hemisphere…..but such a sweet testimony of two brothers who are best friends.
    If yours are best friends now, it will only get better with age!!!

  27. nottryingforaboy says:

    Oh, that brought tears to my eyes. How sweet of your youngest. My dream is for my three girls to be good friends. My one sister and I went through many years- even as adults- of not getting along. I hope my kids are different.

  28. Tami says:

    Oh, Shannon! Thanks for giving me a peek into what (I hope) is the future with our two boys, who are the same age difference as your two. I heard my two little ones playing together in the other room yesterday and those playful giggles just warmed the cockles of my heart!!! God is so good.

  29. Cherissa says:

    This really brought tears to my eyes. Don’t you think that God feels that same way when he sees His children loving and enjoying each other?
    This brought a sweet moment to my morning. Thank you, Shannon!

  30. Jessica says:

    So glad to hear that there can be some peace. My boys are 3 and 1 and some days I feel so bad for the little one getting “taken out” so often by the older one. I just pray that someday I may experience the love that my boys will have for each other. Thanks so much for sharing that. It was a blessing to my heart. Thanks!!

  31. Becky says:

    Do I need to prepare my mind (and my house) for carpet wrestling in several years? I am not sure this mom can handle that very well. : )

  32. TallyMichelle says:

    Oh, that brought tears to my eyes. Our first is 2, and will be a month shy of three when our second arrives. I’m hoping for another boy, and am praying that they will love and enjoy each other like yours do. What an amazing moment you were able to share!

  33. Amy @ Muddy Boots says:

    This is my first time commenting on your blog (I think… I lose track), but that post had my chin quivering by the end.
    Am I hormonal or what??
    I have three boys (so far) and one of my greatest prayers for them is that they will always be friends.

  34. Misty says:

    What a wonderful moment to have shared with your boys! I long to have had those tender moments with my sisters but we didn’t grow up in a family learning about family bonds. Instead I am grateful to be blessed with the love of a man (and his amazing family) who have accepted and taught me – so that I can share that kind of connection with my own family. And a beautiful son that no doubt knows the love of his mother is beyond her words or actions.
    Thank you, Lord, for my many, many blessings!

  35. Allie says:

    Wow! Thank you for sharing that. You painted such a vivid picture of love residing in your boys hearts! And it’s a love they have for each other. When they are adults they will be very active in each others lives and I think that is so important! Bless you and your family!

  36. Marianne says:

    I always tell my boys (5 & 3) that brothers are forever. Luckily, my husband’s brother lives very close so they get to see their dad and his big brother proving that over and over.
    I’ve given you an award — your blog always inspires me to reach a bit higher and try a bit harder.
    And to give more.
    The details are here.
    Have a wonderful day!

  37. Hope says:

    My kids are like that. They are so funny..they’ll get tired of each other, and then the moment one is out of the house, the other will be asking when is “so and so” going to be home cause they’re board!

  38. little i says:

    You mean there’s hope? My two youngest boys seem to be fighting, not wrestling, all the time! They occasionally have their sweet moments. i’m hoping for more of those!

  39. Mom says:

    Isn’t it wonderful when your children love each other?
    I revel in how much my two girls adore each other and look out for each other. When they’ve been apart for an hour or more, they both leap for each other when they reunite. It’s always such an amazing thing for me to watch because I was never close to my siblings.

  40. Shelly says:

    Very touching. Thank you for sharing. I have 4 boys of my own and there are times when I can see the love they have for each other, though they will never admit it.

  41. Jules says:

    Oh! That was wonderful. I have two boys (2 and 4) and feel the same joy when they actly tenderly towards each other. Growing up, my brothers were extremely close– even when they hated each other. The same goes for my husband and his older brother. All I have ever wanted were sons, so I could witness that built in best-friendship as a mom.

  42. Nancy says:

    This gives me hope. My boys are 3 and 2 right now and seem much more like mortal enemies than friends…ever. But I know (or at least hope!) that one day they’ll be fremenies. And then true friends. And some day they’ll be inseperable the way my older brothers are. Thanks for this glance at my future (I hope!)

  43. Tammy says:

    Awww, that is so sweet and heart warming. I guess there is hope for the two older grandsons after all. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing such a wonderful moment.

  44. MandM says:

    I have two boys and two girls and sure they can fight and scrap but the love and support they have for each other is so beautiful and what you wrote captured so well that mother’s heart, that feeling we all have when we see our children love each other.
    My older two are in their teens now and I can assure you that it becomes clearer and clearer how much they love each other as they grow.
    Blessings from New Zealand πŸ™‚

  45. Kara says:

    Sounds similar to my house, love that you have family prayer, it needs to be a bigger part of family lives!
    My sisters and I all have boys..Check out to see a cool site, she is a stay at home mom of three crazy red headed boys, having a blog war with her internet marketing guru of a husband! And winning…

  46. Karen-stay at home mami says:

    I have two boys 3 and 4 and this could have been written about them. I am here in tears writing this, hoping that my boys will continue to be close as we move them in to share a room later this year when we have our next possibly two…and do it all over again!

  47. Sandee says:

    awesome. I too have two boys, 10 and 8 year old, and much like you described. Gave me some peace of mind to know others have the fight and hug syndrom.
    Those moments of tenderness are so precious.

  48. Lisa B. says:

    I’ve never commented on your blog before. Quite honestly, the average number of comments you get is well, intimidating! However, I couldn’t not respond to this post. I literally cried, knowing how utterly wonderful that moment was for you. I love those moments too!

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