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Family Freeloader

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I may have already mentioned that I am in love with the two boys that live upstairs. I take enormous joy in being close enough in proximity to piggyback on some of the joy that is being part of a family, without any of the duties or difficulties that come with having two boys ages 10 and 3. I am a family freeloader. I did offer my babysitting skills as meager compensation to offload my guilt a bit, but I’m still the easily ahead in this bargain.

The youngest, with his lisping stand-up-comedy routine, pudgy cheeks, and recently broken arm, already owns my heart. He is a daredevil showoff, a complete flirt, and a mama’s boy all at once. Watch out ladies of preschool, here he comes.

I hate to say it, but I’d given little Buttons the lion’s share of my attention. His older brother had been so focused on conquering the next cringe-inducing skateboard maneuver that we hadn’t talked much. But I had noticed that no matter how focused he was, he was always watching to carefully avoid Buttons on his tricycle, even when the little guy made him miss a golden attempt. More recently, I’ve noticed how willing he is to halve his cookie, run upstairs for the forgotten bike helmet or otherwise just give his little brother a hand. He is the best big brother I have ever seen. I think the most telling detail is that I have yet to see even the slightest flicker of annoyance at his brother. They adore each other.

Tonight I was helping them unpack a bin of old clothes of Sir Older’s that were being handed down to Buttons. I wish I could transmit the joy I watched at he got to share his favorite old things with his little brother. Where there could have been jealousy and clinging, there were memories and laughter. I felt so honored to be welcome in that living room surrounded with such love.

I don’t know how they do it, but this family has figured out some magic recipe.


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