Ian’s always wanted a younger brother. Unless God, in his infinite humor, decides otherwise, it ain’t gonna happen. But we have a two-year-old godson, Timothy, who’s filling the role quite nicely.
We spent last week in Madeira Beach with friends and our godson, sharing a beach-front condo and sixteen-hour drive. Ian and Timothy spent the trip no more than six inches apart. They sat next to each other in the car, played together on the beach and in the bath, and shared a room.
When traveling with kids, you must always cater to the lowest common denominator. The difference, with this trip, was that Ian had always been that denominator. His feeding times, his nap schedule, his height restriction. In Madeira Beach, Timothy set the bar.
Ian was infinitely patient. When I use the word ‘infinite’, I’m being quite literal. When it came to Timothy, there was no end to Ian’s grace and good will. He shared his best toys, his favorite foods, his parents’ attention. During a rainy-day trip to the aquarium, Ian took Timothy by the hand and led him gently through the exhibits, pointing, explaining, and teaching.
On the morning of the penultimate day, Ian woke late. Timothy had woken an hour earlier. Ian stumbled from his room, and shuffled, frowning, to the bathroom. He walked back without having said a word. I followed.
He’d returned to bed, buried under the covers. I closed the door, lifted the blanket, and crawled next to Ian. He snuggled into my arm.
We lay still, the sounds of Elmo drifting from the living room.
‘Did you need a break from Timothy?’
‘It’s hard work, isn’t it?’
‘Being a big brother.’
‘It takes a lot of work, and a lot of patience. Kinda like being a daddy. I’m very proud of you. You’ve done a wonderful job taking care of Timothy. You’ve been very good to him.’
He shifted. ‘Daddy?’
‘Don’t you know how I wanted a little brother?’
‘I don’t need one anymore, because I got my wish. God gave me a brother, huh?’
‘He sure did.’ He nodded. ‘Do you want to get up now?’
So we didn’t.