One of the best takeaways during this COVID-19 global crisis would certainly have to be the opportunity for me to see my sons grow closer to each other as we stayed home.
It also made me see anew the plus point of having both my kids being of the same gender.
For the longest time, I’ve subscribed to the notion that a ‘perfect’ family would comprise of a father, a mother, a son, and a daughter. At least that’s what all advertisements would seem to tell you. Without even realizing it, much of society (and me) had absorbed this mantra, even though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s just advertising convenience. The easiest and most representative family make-up would, after all, have to be that man-woman-boy-girl combination, since that pretty much covers every family.
Of course, it did also seem logical since having one of each gender would seem to ‘fill out’ the whole parenting experience.
So naturally, when it came time for us to have a second child, my wife and I just wanted to have a girl. But as luck would have it, Caleb came along instead.
No complaints, but then again, we couldn’t help but wonder every now and then what it might have been. We did try again to conceive but were twice unsuccessful. So in the end, we had to settle with being a two-child family, and what we thought (with some trepidation) the prospect of many days of sibling rivalry to resolve!
We were after all of the impression that if both kids in a two-child family were boys, then the ‘fights’ would probably also be doubly intense. At the very least, research does affirm that the two boys combination is only ‘third-best’ compared to the two girls or one boy-one girl ‘combo meal’.
And we were right on many an occasion throughout their young lives! It was all we could do at times to keep them from an all-out war!
But in the past year, I’ve noticed that Jaedon and Caleb have found some sort of an “equilibrium”. It’s rather hard to say how and exactly when, but I’m not complaining! For me, watching them now has filled my heart with overwhelming pride, and I feel so privileged to be having front row seats for this spectacle.
This prolonged and enforced time at home now thanks to COVID has actually done even more to strengthen their sibling ties; more than anything we as parents have tried with them in the past to accomplish.
For instance, take yesterday, when they watched the 2011 movie Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds in the title role. After that, both boys spoke incessantly over the dinner table about it. As soon as dinner was over, they started rummaging around the house to find some toy that resembled a green lantern ring.
Nope, they didn’t find any, but Jaedon managed to find a small blue round clip that was just big enough to be slipped onto their kiddy fingers. Without hesitation, he offered it to Caleb! What a generous brother, and it was clear Caleb was most grateful since he started parading around the house with it most proudly.
Jaedon guided his sibling into imaginary play as to what the ‘blue lantern’ ring could conjure up in terms of imaginative creations that would come to life, just like in the movie. Having done some quick internet search, Jaedon was even able to call out the famous Green Lantern oath which goes:
In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!
He even researched that there were other colored lanterns too in the story, and promptly went to tell Caleb all about it. They then went on to have lots of fun reciting it to each other. It was as though there were only two of them in the whole ‘Green Lantern Corps’ universe, and they only needed each other.
For a parent, there really was no more precious a moment than this. Nor prouder.
What made it even sweeter was that this strong bond and camaraderie extended into the pre-sleep routine, where once again Jaedon sat down and read to Caleb his favorite storybook (Paw Patrol). Even though it wasn’t the first time, somehow the added closeness that came from their common experience that evening after the movie (and the happy banter and play that followed after), continued joyfully on into the reading.
As I watched how focused and attentive Caleb was sitting by his older brother (as Jaedon read, then got Caleb to read some parts too), I felt both a tinge of pride and also of jealousy. Caleb was never this attentive when I read. Somehow, he preferred reading with his brother so much more.
In the end, what’s so great was that I got to watch what it was like when two brothers connected and bonded, something I never had with any of my two (much) older brothers.
It confirmed for me that having two kids of the same gender really offered up a special ‘combo meal’ that just needed the ‘right virus’ to bring out its full and unique ‘flavor’.
So in an odd way, I have to say a big thanks to COVID!