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Our ‘Twins’ and Relationships

“Hot!  Cold!…Young an’ Old!”

While the boys had quiet book time yesterday morning, high up, Finley read his book about opposites from memory, no actual decoding, but it caused his brother to lean in.

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Peering over his brother’s shoulder and hearing his words, Elijah looked back at his book about hugs, “Hot!  Cold!” he mimicked, reading just like brother, the morning sun as their light.

We have entered a new era.  Two babies who needed mostly me, now find independence while being connected by the thread that tethers their hearts.  One where these brothers spend long, fresh breathed hours side by side, playing outdoors, in the world they are discovering with their hands and feet, their cautious, adventurous spirit–together.  Wheeling down hills, crouching near bugs, making hiding places in the green shower of saw grass closing them in, only slivers of their face visible, the sound of their little voices over the rustling leaves speaking in play to each other.  They dump their bikes on their sides to lay long in patches of clover, finding the prize of the yellow flowered sour grass to eat and chew.

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Out the window while my hands are free for a slight moment I mostly hear, “Whoa!  ‘Lijah, you see dat?

“YEAH!”

“You want me to do dat again?”

“YEAH!”

“Come wif me!” as they strap on helmets with clumsy hands and speed off, side by side.

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Creating their own spaces, helping each other through.

 

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Finley taking the role of helper with his brother.

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Andrew and I go to great lengths to preserve their relationship.  Relationships trump most everything in our family.  While they still have their toddler moments, one of our biggest tools is to have them talk frequently about their feelings, otherwise it will come out in other ways.  We model it often, and use times of discipline as connection first, “That made me feel_____, and like _____ when you did that,” and hold them close, first.  For Elijah who is less verbal, we will say in front of the other child, “Elijah, you must feel so sad that your toy got taken away, I can tell by your tears.  You must feel upset and your feelings hurt,” to which he nods, “Yeah!”  Often times, the other will apologize without being prompted after they have had a moment to hear how the other one is feeling.  We try to talk about the feelings of the one in the wrong too, “You must have been very mad or upset,” so that they know why they did what they did, “It’s ok to be mad, it’s not ok to hurt.”

After an apology, we ask the one who had their feelings hurt to say,”I forgive you,” because, forgiveness is freedom, and we always offer forgiveness, ending with a hug and a kiss.  The more they know about each other, and about their own feelings, and practice and learn, the stronger we can all become.  Sometimes all of this takes longer, but then I think, well, isn’t this what I have time for?  Helping my kids understand themselves and each other?

This morning we heard Finley tell Elijah, “You made me feel very frustrated right now…” and Elijah handed back his car.  We didn’t say anything, but if felt like a small, or huge victory.

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A wise person once told me, “It’s not about avoiding issues, issues will come up, the whole point is fixing the issues with each other kindly, eye to eye, in love.”

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Their friendship is a blessing to each other and me.  They encourage each other and learn about their world together, side by side.  (Meanwhile, the laundry is actually being put away)

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{Finley picking a snack for his brother}

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Andrew and I take the time and energy to know ourselves, to know our weakness as broken people raising little ones, and take steps to grow and set good examples.  This has come through many great things this year, which I want to blog about soon.

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But the sound you will hear most from them is car sounds as they turn any surface into highways, an unsaid agreement that this step, these bricks, this sand is a road for tiny metal cars with ‘squishy wheels.’

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We were told at one time that ‘experts’ say not to artificially twin children via adoption.  Our boys are 6 months apart, and it’s true, they are very much at the same level.  Then we thought, maybe some experts don’t know our family.

They are on on the same level in many ways, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it–it’s the best.  The average age difference of siblings is 2 year, and I think about the huge difference that is 1 and 3, or 3 and 5 in interests and abilities.

So the next time an expert tries to tell you about adding to your family, ask them, “What are you an expert in, boring?”

I am so thankful we didn’t refuse this sweet boy, that we didn’t say no out of fear or ‘comfort.’

But more thankful is Finley, because every boy needs a best friend/brother.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • nicole February 20, 2014, 11:17 pm

    I would like to say I really admire Finley dealing with having to share his world, parents etc… with two siblings who stepped into his life. He seems to accept it all with alot of love…
    I suppose his parents are responsible too 🙂 but he is a great little boy !!!

  • Natalie Burton February 21, 2014, 12:12 am

    Your posts literally warm my heart–I feel such joy reading what you share. Don’t freak out, but I’m in love with your family. 😉 Such sweetness among your children!!

  • kerrymac22 February 21, 2014, 10:15 am

    ~♥~

  • kerrymac22 February 21, 2014, 10:16 am

    Could they get any cuter or sweeter or more dear? I don’t think so.

  • Cindy February 22, 2014, 7:10 pm

    Just discovered your blog, had I not read a bit prior to this post, I would not have known they are not biological brothers, they look so much alike. I am excited to read more about your journey.

  • Heather Mayfield February 22, 2014, 7:15 pm

    I am wholeheartedly in love with this post, those pictures, and your boys. They are so beautiful. God certainly knew what he was doing when he made Elijah. He was made for you guys, I don’t doubt it.

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