Friday, August 12, 2016

Escape Plan

"What are you guys doing?" My husband asked with a smile. He had found them huddled together laughing on the bathroom floor. 
"Planning!" My oldest said then turned his attention back to his brother.

Fifteen minutes later, the boys raided the drawer filled with printer paper and ran to the dining room table with markers and paper in hand. They laughed and whispered as they went through page after page of printer paper.

"What in the world are they doing?" I asked my husband.
"Being brothers," he replied.

When the "plans" were finally complete, I asked them to tell me about them. They were strangely quiet about it. "Oh, they are just escape vehicles we are designing," my four year old shared. 
"Escape vehicles, huh? Why do they need to escape?" They looked at each other as if I had asked the stupidest question ever asked. 
My oldest decided to enlighten me. "Everything! Volcanoes! The ocean! Poop! TNT!"
It was then that the stories began to get richer and richer. What had appeared to me as scribbles were apparently elaborate adventures. "See this guy, Mommy?" My four year old began. "He's a monster truck and he's got HUGE tires and he drops TNT like poop so that nobody can follow him! Somebody tried to get him but he was too fast. He went ZOOM then BOOM and nobody..NOBODY would follow him! He's too tough!"
"And my guy lost his train car because the coupling broke," my seven year old explained. "But he figured out how to make a rope into a new coupling and he lassoed the train car RIGHT BEFORE it plunged into the ocean!"

They went on like this, drawing after drawing, and I was amazed at their creativity. They bounced ideas off each other, making their stories and vehicles and adventures weave in and out to make something totally new. I just sat back and listened less to their words and more to their enthusiasm and camaraderie. They were more than brothers at this moment. They were friends.

As I write this, my boys are fighting about who gets to rip apart a puzzle my daughter worked for twenty minutes to put together. They will fight in a moment about whose turn it is to pick a show to watch or "that cup" that they must have or else they will surely die. But this is the fabric of brotherhood and friendship. They are filled with some moments that are rich and full of love and laughter and others that involve more bickering than connecting. 

Today I will choose to focus on the hope I have for the friendship they are building rather than the fighting. Will you do the same? Watch for the moments your children connect rather than fight. Watch for their laughter, the way they help each other, the way they work together. Tell them how wonderful it is to see. Your heart will be grateful.

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