The boys can be so sweet when they first wake up in the morning, but as the day drags on, the sweetness between them wears away until they're virtually at each other's necks. Each new morning, the sweetness resets, making the hours between 4pm and bedtime the "hot hours" with them. Brothers. I suppose that's the relationship they're supposed to have. As an only child, I can't relate. What I can appreciate, however, is how they can be fighting about absolutely everything one moment and then almost instantly bond together in the next toward a common purpose. In the throws of parenthood, we can easily overlook these snapshots while trying to catch our breath between the episodes of drama. But we shouldn't. Because those moments - the moments of affection and fraternal teamwork in the throws of the hot hours - are the essence of brotherly love.
It's the end of summer as the boys know it. School starts again in a few days - the riptide of the academic calendar is pulling at their feet. Both kids are bored on this particular afternoon, caught between the end of summer activities and the start of school, they complain endlessly that there is NOTHING to do. To fill the void, they gravitate toward screens of various kinds, which we've ceremoniously limited (much to their dismay). Drawing on our own childhood, their mother and I kick them out the front door and into the glorious late-day sunshine, offering only quick kisses for each and the directive "go figure it out, kids."
On this day, rather than continue fighting with one another during the hot hours, the boys figured out together that garden hoses make great, flowing water sources. They also realized that flower bed rocks and topsoil make fabulous building materials for a dam. An hour passed, with the only sounds heard from within the house being silence with intermittent shrieks and giggles from outside. Curious, I took a look outside to see a waterfall flowing down the front entryway steps into a makeshift pool, completely retained by a giant stone and dirt dam. Stones and dirt and other makeshift materials scavenged from the landscaping were everywhere. Both boys were immensely proud of their construction. Their parents, on the other hand...
But brothers, they are. Their bond, a beautiful one... And boys will be boys.
Footnotes: All images, Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR