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Little blasts of a deep connection

Ollie had another strange breathing/croupy/wheezing attack, so I called the pediatrician the moment they opened yesterday and made an appointment. Ryley asked if he could come. His motives were ulterior (he had money and suspected I’d end up at a store) but I was glad to have him join us.

It’s odd being out with just my oldest and youngest boys. One is tall with size 12 (and growing) feet, the other a chirpy toddler. When we arrived at the doctor’s office, Ryley got Ollie out of his car seat and seemed disappointed when I took his baby brother out of his arms. I tried to redeem the moment by settling our little wheezer on Ryley’s lap when I checked in with the receptionist. Ollie put his head on Ryley’s chest until he remembered the fishies in the waiting room tanks, then he wanted nothing to do with either one of us.

He ended up having a breathing treatment, which eased his symptoms. The NP gave instructions to continue giving treatments and home and wrote a prescription for more nebulizer vials. On the way out, both boys chose lollipops and both skipped the sticker basket. Ollie fell asleep as I drove to the Target pharmacy. Ryley and I talked about summer reading for school. “Oh, I was going to chose my book from the list today, actually…” he claimed and I laughed. It’s only June. We arrived and I asked Ryley to get Ollie out of his seat.

“But he’s asleep?”

I told him that was okay. He unbuckled Ollie and pulled him free of the seat. Ollie stirred a bit, but the long night was too much and he quickly sank back to sleep with his head on Ryley’s shoulder, melting into his big brother. He knew he was completely safe. We walked to the entrance and it struck me how incredibly fortunate I was to witness one of my children carrying another so capably, with strength and tenderness and confidence. It’s not something most mothers ever see because their kids are closer in age. Being 14 years apart is out of the norm, by far. And teenagers aren’t completely thrilled when they learn a sibling is on the way. That’s kind of gross, right?

Then they fall just as crazy in love with the little ones as I have. Whenever I get a glimpse of their unique bond, I am grateful our family was built this way. The large number of years between certain kids might make it harder for them to find common ground for now, but I hope someday the memories of carrying—and being carried—stick with them. Their orbits aligned.


Once home, Ryley ate pizza and retreated to his computer to decide what book he will read. Ollie did toddler things like splashing in the dogs’ water and eating only the pineapple tidbits on his lunch plate. Most of the time it’s like that. They navigate two wildly differing worlds even though they share the same roof, the same parents, the same siblings, the same silly dogs. Little blasts of a deeper connection are savored.

4 comments to Little blasts of a deep connection

  • Jill

    Glad Ollie is feeling better…. and Ryley is so kindhearted… <3

  • I’m one of two siblings. My wife is one of nine. I’ve always thought I got the better end of the deal given the intensity that comes with being part of a big brood. This post gives me pause!

  • Melanie

    True sentiments! And such a positive way to view the distance! There is only 10 years between our oldest and youngest boys but it is a beautiful thing to witness the love and admiration pass between them. Hope Ollie is feeling better soon.

  • Lari

    I love this! My oldest and youngest boys are 16 yrs apart…I love to watch them play together.

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