Our Samuel became a big brother for the first time at the ripe old age of 19 1/2 months. He loved his "Baby Kai" and dutifully gave him kisses and strangling hugs. He's been a big brother so long that he doesn't remember NOT being one!
He and Zakkai have loved, fought, and played as wonderfully as two brothers can. I pray often for their relationship, hoping it will be loyal, deep and true. We talk to them all the time about protecting each other, loving each other and about being friends, as well as brothers.
Underneath the 6 year old superiority, I know that Samuel really loves his little brother in all of his pesky, worshipful existence. I saw evidence of that when we were separating our family for 2 weeks back in February. The boys looked at each other and sadly said, "I'm really going to miss you." And the hugs they gave each other when we got back! Beautiful.
And then Samuel became a big brother again at the age of 5 to his little sister. It was so fun this time to watch him really understand that a baby sister was coming and that he could help take care of her, watch her grow and teach her from his wealth of knowledge.
He adored her from the second he met her. Not one time has there even been a hint of jealousy. He loves hugging her, holding her, teaching her words, laughing at her adorableness, protecting her. He tells me all the time that he loves having a baby sister around and he wishes she wouldn't grow up so fast....
And through his gentleness and constant love for her, she has responded with equal love and delight. She loves to say his name, she responds to him so quickly and he was even sometimes the only one out of all of us to consistently get her to laugh and smile as a baby. I love their bond!
We have been working very hard with Samuel lately to cultivate the same protectiveness and gentleness with his little brother. He gets lots of praise and stickers on his Attitude/Be Kind Chart and let me tell you, IT IS WORKING!!! We are starting to really see many examples of spontaneous kindness. The other day out of the blue Samuel said, "Zakkai, you are really good at fixing things. I think you should be a mechanic someday!" And as they were getting out of the van yesterday, Samuel stepped back and said, "You go first, Zakkai, because you're my brother." :)
He ties his little brother's shoes for him, pushes him on the swing and is learning to stick up for him and treat him with respect. It's not easy but it is valuable and beautiful.
I am so proud of this son of mine. I am so excited to see hints of the wonderful man he will be someday, by God's grace. Such a beautiful heart, a gentle and teachable spirit, a desire to learn and to please.
God knew that he'd be a great big brother.