For the past three years, the boys have been practically inseperable. They were close since Two was old enough to follow One around "I pwayin', mom - we're sojers. Bang!" but the past three years they have done almost everything the same, at the same time. They woke up at the same time, ate the same breakfast, rode with Dad to the same school, rode home in the afternoon with me, played and did homework together, went to taekwondo, ate dinner, showered together, and went to bed at the same time. Every day for three years, like shadows of one another, their days matched up almost exactly.
And now, everything is different. It's weird, and it's working, but it's completely different. Now, One wakes up before Two, eats on his own, and rides to middle school with me. I wake Two up before we leave so we can say goodbye, but he waits for his Dad to take him to elementary school. They are at different schools again (obviously) and in the afternoon first I pick up one and then the other - the order varies by the day. When we get home they spend some time together, but then one heads to sports while the other heads for homework; Two's soccer practices are on different days than One's football practices. On the days that each boy doesn't have his team sport, he heads off to taekwondo alone - something we've never done before. Even showering (which they stopped doing at the same time last fall, actually) is a one night on/one off kind of thing; frequently one boy desperately needs a shower on the night that his brother isn't really so bad (and we're all about conserving water and not showering every day - either that or its that I can't stand having the "yes you ARE dirty" argument every.single.night. A girl can only take so much.). Even bedtime is frequently different; on football nights, I have Two in bed before One even gets home, since his practice rarely ends before 9pm.
Of all the things we're adjusting to this fall - new school, new sports - this lack of teamwork was what I worried about the most. I knew it had to happen: looking just at school, they will not be in the same building together again until One is a senior in high school and Two is a freshman. And that's assuming they even go to the same high school, which is a big assumption in itself. But they are suddenly so far apart in all their activities, suddenly so much less of a team.
Except, they aren't less of a team. At least they don't act like it. They act the same towards one another as they always have: a little bickering, a whole lot of support and love. That "support and love" comes in all kinds of boy forms, from wrestling with one another, chasing each other around the house screaming, watching waaay to much TV together (Harry Potter IV: how many times can they stand it?), to Two insisting on carrying One's water to football practice and One sharing his favorite books with his little brother. The bond they have built through so much shared activity is so strong, it appears to be surviving this miniature separation completely intact. And since they will one day be fully separate, each on his own, grown-up and away from here, I am glad that they have a chance to first practice keeping that bond together even when not physically close. Maybe this is just another skill they will learn on their way out the door: to keep the team of two together, regardless of how much distance and different lives separate them. That is why God gave them to one another, after all.
"Let a friend be with you on every occasion, And let brethren be useful in necessities, For they are begotten for this reason." - Proverbs 17:19 (Orthodox Study Bible)