Last weekend I went home to Saskatchewan for the wedding of a long-time family friend.
My girlfriend and I stayed with Thomas, the older of my two younger brothers, who just bought a house with his girlfriend in December. The wedding was a great party, as weddings usually are, and I enjoyed visiting with my old friends.
What was most interesting about the weekend was the time spent with my family and in particular, the time I spent with my brothers.
I had a nice visit with my brothers and (as is becoming more usual each time I visit my family), I found it difficult to leave at the end of the weekend. This is interesting to me, as 10 years ago I would have done just about anything to get away from my family most weekends, especially from my brothers who I often found annoying and immature.
Now that we have all ‘grown up’ (Thomas is 21 and James just turned 19 on Monday) the relationship between my brothers and me has changed dramatically. When we were kids the three of us did the same things all brothers do while growing up. By that I mean we fought. A lot.
All siblings – brothers in particular – fight with each other as they grow up and for the most part they all grow out of it.
However, I don’t think that knowledge gives much comfort to parents with children who are constantly at their siblings’ throats. For example, even if they didn’t really think it would happen, I know my parents were terrified my brothers and I would grow up to become adult siblings who never spoke to each other unless family gatherings demanded it.
Fortunately, that hasn’t happened thanks to a little thing called maturity. Maturity is a trait that develops with age and exists solely to prevent brothers from tearing each other apart.
In all seriousness, events like this past weekend and other family gatherings have demonstrated to me that while my brothers and I may not have completely outgrown occasional name-calling, we have reached a level of maturity that even our parents would be proud of. The first such event happened about two and a half years ago when Thomas was still going to school in Lethbridge.
Thomas invited James and I to spend a weekend at his place and do some hiking in Waterton Park. I didn’t realize it until afterwards but it was the first time all three of us had been together for any real length of time without Mom and Dad. It was also the first time any of us had been together without Mom and Dad since we ‘grew up.’
What I found interesting about the weekend was not that we still fought and argued (sadly, that much is still to be expected) but that it never got out of hand.
It was like the way we argued had changed and gotten more mature along with our relationships. Perhaps the most clear illustration of this was when we went on the Bear Hump Hike in Waterton.
I’m sure my brothers would agree that as children, there was no way the three of us would have made it to the top of a mountain and back without a fatality or at the very least, an injury to one of us. To clarify, I don’t mean hiking is dangerous. I mean we would have killed each other.
Thanks to maturity, that didn’t happen. Even though Thomas shoved James down the mountain and tripped me (I did a swan dive into a snow bank) not a single fight broke out on that mountainside.
Instead, we laughed about it.
The same thing happened again this weekend. No argument got to the point where a punch was thrown and while we may have aggravated each other, it never stopped us from having fun.
So don’t worry if your kids act like they hate each other now, chances are they will enjoy a long-lasting and positive relationship as adults. In the meantime, keep them away from any mountains.