My two sons
Editor’s note: This post contains scenes of almost unbearable, treacly cuteness and gratuitous parental fawning. Non-parental guidance is suggested.
Every year at the beginning of December we pack up and take the lads to Disney for the weekend to celebrate both of their birthdays. They look forward to it every year and I do have a good time chasing them around while they terrorize the house of the Mouse. Friday is time for another birthday trip.
It’s not difficult to tell by looking at us, but we adopted both of these guys several years ago. They are not brothers by birth, but I can’t imagine two siblings who are more “brothers” than these two.
One minute they are as sweet as can be, and you can’t imagine two people who are closer. You know they will always look out for each other.
Two cases in point. Over the summer, I picked up the boys from camp and noticed that Byron had a bit of a scratch on his face. I asked him what happened and he said that one of the older kids was bothering his brother and he jumped into the fray to protect him (well, he didn’t use the term “fray” but you get the point). You’ve never seen anyone beam brighter when Brandon picked up the story and filled in the details about how Byron shouted at the older kid and took the glancing blow of a thrown stick to the face for his troubles. By this time the teacher finally interceded, order was restored, and nobody messed with either of them the rest of the summer (Incidentally, since when did Art Camp become such a rough and tumble world?).
Proof number 2 of brotherly love and affection. Their school gives out fake money for achievements and/or good behavior that can be redeemed for trips to the school store and “kid’s town,” and special play area with games and such that the older kids put on. Now, Byron being the mischievous type that he is, rarely has enough accumulated $ to go to kid’s town, but really wanted to, so Brandon, straight-laced, straight A student with loads of money accumulated, gave his brother a birthday card the other day with enough money in it for Byron to go to finally go. Not since Harry Bailey toasted his big brother George has a brotherly gesture engendered that much goodwill.
Now of course they wouldn’t be brothers if these moments of love and affection weren’t immediately offset by threats, fisticuffs and general acts of violence. They are, after all their own little men and are as different as two people can possibly be at times.
Byron, aka Lord Byron of the Manor, is the oldest and never misses an opportunity to remind his brother of that fact. He is strong-willed (this may be the understatement of the year. Calling him strong-willed is akin to calling bacon “tasty” or Manchester United fans “obnoxious.” CTID), expressive, passionate, protective, loving, jealous, and at times incredibly empathetic. He drives me insane at times, but every time I start to get mad at him I stop and think of all he’s been through in his short life and I can’t stay that way for long. He came to us with some fairly severe health problems that, thanks to talented doctors, the miracles of modern medicine, and persistent parents, have all greatly improved to the point that you would never recognize him from the skinny, sickly boy that we first saw in 2004.
It’s really hard to believe I’m looking at the same kid sometimes. That scrawny boy is now built like a tank (thanks to his sturdy Mayan ancestors), eating us out of house and home, and still charming everybody he meets (especially the ladies) with his looks and his out of nowhere baritone voice. If I had to predict his future I’d say he’s either going to be ruler of his own island one day or an unemployed actor that somehow manages to stumble into money periodically. Definitely one of the two.
Brandon is the younger of the two, and is smart, inquisitive (to the point of annoyance sometimes, enough questions!), sometimes starved for attention in the shadow of his domineering sibling, simultaneously cocky and shy, and one of the most genuinely sweet human beings I’ve ever known. We look amazingly alike despite the fact that we are not blood relatives, to the point where more than one person has asked me to account for my whereabouts nine months before his birth. As I always tell him, our curly hair and large heads are just there to protect our big brains. Rock on, Team Curly!
Brandon is already one of the world’s foremost authorities on dinosaurs, animals, and has a head full of things that he is going to invent, most of which involve some type of “energy field.” I have no idea what he will end up becoming (he’s expressed interest in approximately 2700 career fields so far), but I do know that he is our retirement fund and that Byron will end up borrowing money from him at some point to fund a “scheme” of some kind.
Those are my two boys, my “little guys” who aren’t so little any more. They annoy the living daylights out of me, make me want to run screaming from the house sometimes, and are the reason the top of my head is grayer and thinner than it use to be while my middle is larger and rounder than it needs to be, but I can’t imagine my life without them now and not a day goes by that they don’t do something that amazes me or makes me laugh hysterically.
I wanted to give them something for their birthday that wasn’t a toy or a marketing device for a major corporation disguised as a theme park, so I wrote this. Hopefully some day they read it (Brandon will no doubt provide some suggestions to improve the grammar and structure) and know how much their dad loves them and how proud he is of them. Happy birthday, lads.