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Home > Father Son Poem / Article > Article

A Father of Brothers

by Archie Wortham

Brothers (c) 2000 FatherMag.com - All rights reserved.

"I love you just as much as I love your brother, just differently," I told Jeremy one day, when we got into the omnipresent why do I have do certain thing, and he doesn't. Or where's mine, when dad forgot to get the exact same toy, shirt, or life he gave the other child? Know what I mean moms and dads? No matter how much you try, there always seems to be some current rivalry you as a parent have to explain so they understand you love them all, just differently. If you have more than one child, you soon realize you cannot love them the same. Your love for them is as different as they are, and somehow, you find that you have the capacity to find ways to love you didn't know existed.

I never will forget the day I said to Myles, "Come here son." Jeremy was stunned. I felt the thoughts. That's my name. How can he be your son, too? How can you give him all the things that were mine to him? Am I not still special? These were but a few of his thoughts I'm sure; a few meanderings he drifted into and out of as he learned that dad was capable of loving them both. But he and dad had to learn that dad could only love them the way they let dad love them. Sometimes that's not easy.

It's not easy being a dad, or being a son with a brother or sister who wants all of dad's attention. And they do. It's as if you'd think we had a clan of Hatfields and McCoys, Jets and Sharks, Montagues and Capulets living under the same roof. After the feud is over, and they are tired of the senseless squabble, they realize dad indeed does love them both. What's more important, they find ways to show dad how they love him, by simply loving each other.

I've often felt I was put on this earth to be a dad. It's a struggle, and one I'm not sure I'm worthy of as I try my best with two boys with the hardest heads I know. There's constantly a game of mine, is...is not, my dad, no my dad or mom, going on. Yet before I can check birth certificates to be sure they're ours, they've resolved whatever feeble issue they were feuding over, and many times have done it without mine or their mom's officiating or interfering. That makes you feel good--to realize they are learning to respect each other, and understand that no matter what they will be around for each other. As a parent, you think...maybe they will grow up realizing how much you and mom really loved them--by deciding to give them a little brother or sister.

People tell me constantly, they often question how God could find it so amusing to have given them two children, one like mom, and one like dad. For those of you who have more than two, try adding amicable Aunt so and so, unctuous Uncle you know who, or your own dad or mom. The fact is, no two people are alike, so why should you expect your children to be alike? I mean, it would be too easy. Wouldn't it? It would be like a class you'd taught, or taken. If the classes were the same, can you imagine how boring that would be? I don't want to imagine it. They are not clones, thank Heaven.

I can't explain the depth of my love for my boys sometimes. I get irritated, annoyed, and wonder if I ever am going to get my life back. I get frustrated when they refuse to listen, totally floored when they figure out something I didn't even know or thought of, as they remind me I'm as much a student as I am a teacher in this relationship. Can any of you dads relate to being taught something by your kids? Can you also remember teaching your dad something, and sharing the real experience of being...for that moment, equal? Rare though they may be, those moments are truly special. Those moments are equally important to brothers and sisters who learn from each other. Dads, ever heard yourself say... "If you do that, mom will get all over you," or "if you want dad to really be happy, I think you should do this." Sound familiar? Ever noticed how many of our reactions are driven not by the things we do, but rather how our feelings remain constant, based on who we are?

I often tell Jeremy, I'll always love him no matter what he does. I may not like some of things. But he understands I'll always forgive him, and of course he'll have to suffer the wrath of parental judgment or earn the right and responsibility to mete out his own punishment for breaking a rule. In this process, it's interesting when his brother Myles is an accessory. As long as Myles gets punished too; as long as Myles shares the burden or the consequence of disobedience; as long as Myles is truly loved as much, no matter how differently, then whatever we do to Jeremy is okay. I think that's the key to establishing true bonds between siblings. If the rewards and punishments are appropriately and equitably issued, later in life it's easier for them to really understand how much we wanted them to love each other. They may not see that we loved equally, just that we loved them. Maybe that's the key that will unlock many doors for them when mom and dad are gone.

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