Friday, February 05, 2010

Family dynamics don't change as kids move out

How's that for a flat, straight-from-the-mountaintop assertion to start off your Friday morning?

Of course, as devoted readers of Second Effort, you necessarily expect I will cite some new survey or publication that makes my point.

Well, no.

But I have some thin anecdotal gruel to share with you today and perhaps you can check this against your own experiences....

Oldest Son and Middle Son have always had a complicated relationship. I believe Oldest Son genuinely cares for his brother -- somewhere, deep in the core of his being -- but, like John D. Rockefeller, Sr. supposedly did with his own kids, Oldest Son tries to cheat his younger brother at every turn.

When they were little -- as in 6 and not-quite-4 little -- Oldest Son would play baseball with his brother in the street outside our house. There weren't enough kids for full teams... or anything close thereto... but there were usually four or five kids including Oldest Son's friend Tommy, who lived down the block, who were usually available.

One day only Oldest Son, Tommy, and Middle Son were available to play. Long Suffering Spouse still talks about how, after a couple of hours, Middle Son came back into the house, crying his eyes out. He'd "lost" -- 100 to nothing, he said, or maybe 1,000 to nothing. "What were the teams?" asked Long Suffering Spouse. Well, snuffled Middle Son, he played alone -- against his brother and Tommy.

Fast forward to the present. Oldest Son is getting married in a few months, now, and Tommy will be standing up. So will Middle Son.

Oldest Son doesn't fill us in on every particular of his wedding planning. He reveals data sporadically -- just as he always has -- and you'd best be prepared to receive everything he has to say when he decides to say it... because he won't repeat it.

Long Suffering Spouse tries her best to pry information from him but it's tough. For one thing, she'd like to know the colors of the bridesmaids' dresses. I don't know why this is so important -- but I understand women do think it of vital import. It may be that he's not told us because there is some indecision on the part of his bride; at least we've heard a number of color schemes in the past several months, some of them absurd. Eventually, I imagine, we'll find out.

We found out about tuxes the other night: Oldest Son had called me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I'd be willing to wear a tux. (Even in traditional weddings, as far as I know, the father of the groom, as a true supernumerary, has no particular sartorial obligations... except not to embarrass his spouse.) I said I would if that's what he wanted me to do -- and he called the other night to tell me that I would wear a tux, that the tux will be black, with a vest, that I can be fitted at a chain store here in Chicago, and that he will pick up all the tuxes in San Antonio (where the nuptials are to take place).

Fine, I said, that's one less thing to take on the plane.

Later that same evening, just after Long Suffering Spouse and I had retired for the evening, Youngest Son came bounding into our room. He was holding his cell phone. Middle Son had called him (hoping we weren't asleep, but by calling his brother, avoiding the chance of startling us awake if we were asleep).

Youngest Son told us Middle Son was on the phone and he had just learned about the tuxes and he was upset. "Mom, Dad," Youngest Son repeated (although we could hear Middle Son quite plainly; he must have been shouting), "did you know the tuxedos will be pink?"

Oldest Son had gotten his brother again.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

lss needs to know the bridesmaids colors so she doesn't wear the same color curmy. anyone should know that! ha ha ha jk!

sometimes i'm glad i was an "only" child.

smiles, bee

Chris said...

Noooo, please don't tell me brothers are at loggerheads for ever :-( Mine are only 8!

Shelby said...

priceless :)

Cathy said...

Your kids are a riot. My 2 sons are 11 months apart in age so when they were growing up we had the exact same thing. They are now almost 38 and 39 and still it continues, at times.