Matthew and Isaac are only 6 months apart. Every time someone hears me say that I have two 3-year olds, they ask if I have twins. Soon after we brought Matthew home, I would think how great it was to have “virtual twins”. They would have the same interests. They could be on the same T-ball team. Things would easier that way without running all over town. Some days it does seem like I have twins, but in reality there isn’t much about Isaac and Matthew that is the same. They have very different interests and personalities and as we make plans for them this fall, we have to take into consideration their very different needs, interests and abilities.
For instance, the past few weeks, they have been going to preschool 2 mornings/week. They are in different classes, but see each other throughout the day and it is going well. However, this week, we had Isaac signed up for gymnastics camp. Every morning this week, Matthew and I have taken him there. On the first morning, Isaac took his shoes off and ran off to the mats, and Matthew tried to take his shoes off too. He was disappointed to see his brother running off to have fun without him. I don’t think he understood why he didn’t go. The fact is that Matthew is really good at lots of things–art, singing, even soccer. But he is clumsy and uncoordinated–the poor child tripped and fell just walking IN to the gymnastics studio. The balance beam is not his friend. And while we could have sent him to this camp with Isaac, it wouldn’t have been fair to the other kids or the teachers since he would have required constant one on one help. It also would have been extremely frustrating for him, and that is simply not our goal.
He was very bummed that first morning as we left the gymnastics studio, but the true sadness came when he found out he still had to go to preschool…..without his brother. The carpool line, which usually is a time full of excitement and laughter for the boys became a tearful, anxious time as he realized he had to go in without his brother……as he realized he wouldn’t be sitting on the carpool bench with his “security Isaac”.
Things have improved slowly as the week has gone on. Matthew realizes he isn’t going to stay at gymnastics, but he still delights in seeing his brother run out to the mats. This morning we stayed awhile and I was holding him and we were watching Isaac. The music started and the kids were warming up. Matthew delightedly told me “Isaac dancing!!” without a bit of bitterness or jealousy.
Matthew was filled with joy to see his brother doing something that filled him with joy.
And isn’t that what love is all about?
One of my goals as a parent is that we are able to help the boys pursue the things they love, the things they naturally excel at. Since I don’t want either of them dwelling on the things they can’t do, I won’t dwell on those things either. And yes, that means I will be driving them to different activities on different sides of town…for about 13 more years. It also means that their fall schedule requires a spreadsheet and a flowchart to figure out. But that’s okay, because they are both going to be getting what they need.
Even more importantly, I want them to cheer each other on, to be each others biggest fans. Somehow I know that when Isaac competes at a gymnastics tournament or a track meet, Matthew’s cheers will be heard above all others. Or when Matthew’s art project wins first prize or he gets to perform a solo in front of the school, Isaac will tell everyone around him, that is MY brother.
I don’t think a mother could ask for much more than that.