Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More Twindifferences

I have on numerous occasions mentioned how marvelously and inherently and beautifully different the boys are.  I think one of the most difficult ideas to comprehend about parenting is how profoundly and inexplicably deep the love for and from a child is.  I remember when I was younger and my friends would tell me how much their kid had changed their lives and I'd be all, yeah, whatever.  Now, I understand that.  Another concept that was hard for me to grasp was that I would love them so damned differently.

Now, I realize that I have been down this road here before.  You might remember the towers in this post, or the striking disparity between a school assignment and a couple of Christmas trees in the first Twindifference.  You may also remember the book I have mentioned, I Love You the Purplest, from my last postAll and all, though, it is a theme I need to stay on, probably because I need help understanding how you do it; how you come to terms with it; how you accept it, this incongruity, this seeming imbalance of love.

Lately there has been a lot of bickering between the boys and it often comes down to a perceived slight from me or Mom.  This led me to understand a fundamental mistake I had made am making in the way I love them, Nick in particular.  Since he and I are so very much alike we are often at odds with each other.  Zack and I snuggle and cuddle and hold hands and have sweet conversations and that is rare with Nick.  We hold hands and he likes to lean against me, but, his physical affection is more covert than Zack's, it is sweet and honest and casual and fleeting, the way I like affection, actually.

Anyway, the mistake with Nick I'd made was that I thought we needed less time together, or, more accurately, we spent enough time together.  Actually, he might need more time with me, but the time he needs with me is time throwing or kicking a ball, or riding a bike, or climbing on a shed.  He learns love by seeing it in my eyes, in Mom's eyes, in your eyes, or in the smile of a good friend or grandparent.  He knows, just as I know, love is a verb, an action verb, and that is how I must express my love to him.

Not through cuddles and snuggles, but through pitches and lifts into trees.

Not through holding hands but through busy hands, dirty and useful, imagining, exploring hands.

Not through words of love but through silly jokes and pratfalls, funny voices and doubletakes.

It is through acts of praise, deeds of integrity, and actual physical commitment that I reach him.  I can't tell him about my love for him I must show him; show him that I honor him; show him that I cherish him; take him down the road of integrity not just point the way.  I am sorry, Nick, I get that better now and I will work harder on it.

He is watching me, and, you know what's weird?  I thought the other one was watching me...

I sit here shaking my head and marvel at my own audacity.  How could I not see that the kid who made this:

needs to be loved differently than the kid who made this?

Zack made a home, solid and true, with a fence and a rooftop garden.  He has a destination, for now, a place he sees himself... with a beautiful biker wife, and he is carrying a turkey leg and a fire extinguisher.

Nick made the vehicle, or "buggy" as he called it, there at the top.  He's got places to go in it, dreams to seek, dragons to slay.  You can't really tell, but the LEGO guy driving the buggy, he's a knight.

From Marci's "...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."

I cannot believe this came out of mouth this morning:  "I don't care whose underwear it is on the floor, one of you be a man and pick it up."

Appealing to integrity in a second grader is ill-advised, I know, I try it all the time...


  1. Hey there, saw your post on Dork Dad's question when is a good time to introduce Star Wars. I liked your answer. I have 6 year old twin boys myself and really liked this article on their differences. Its amazing how siblings can be so different and need such different things. I took a parenting class based on the 7 love languages and it was like a light turned on. Both my guys love cuddles, (physical touch) but one preferred quality time over words of praise. In the rush of the day-to-day its hard to remember, but now I can make that extra effort. Cheers to you in recognizing those differences without the class.

    1. Thanks for coming around here to take a look. It means a lot because I know, I mean KNOW, how busy you are. I took a look at your blog and I will be returning to your site soon. I am familiar with the 7 love languages and have applied the philosophy to my parenting as well.
      Thanks for stopping by.