What a Day At The Park Can Reveal About Brotherhood

Kalvin seemed to enjoy the park and its slides like every other two year old.  Until that fateful day when we took him to the "playground store" to purchase a swing set for our back yard.  He climbed up the big, big slide right away.  He sat at he top of the slide and yelled,  "Watch me, watch me!"
  Now these slides, the slides that are inside the store designed to sell pure exhilaration to kids,  must be waxed by the Karate Kid.  Kalvin, headed down the slide.  He zoomed by us at lightening speed.  Like a rocket passing in front of our eyes.  And he landed halfway across the store.  To say he was a little shaken up is putting it mildly.  Kalvin swore off slides for a long, long time.   To this very day he will do almost anything to avoid them.   At birthday parties,  when all the kids are climbing up the big blow up slides,  Kalvin usually tries to find something, anything, else to do.

Kalvin at 2 before we bought the big swing set.
Some of his "slide phobia,"  I know,  stems from his anxiety and his coordination disorder.  But really this fear of slides didn't rear its ugly head until that fateful day at the playground store.

Kalvin at 2 coming down his little slide.
 Before Finn was born, my pediatrician would continuously ask me when we were going to have another baby.  "It will be good for Kalvin," he would say to me. 

We knew we doted on Kalvin a little too much,  but every heart mom knows it is very hard not to.  Very hard not to have your world continue to center around that heart baby when it has for so long.  Especially, when he is your only child.

Dr. Cloherty would ask me if I was concerned about a new baby having  heart defects too.  I would assure the good doctor that concern over a heart defect wasn't the issue.  "We are trying,  Dr. Cloherty,  we are trying,"  I would mumble.  And it was true.  We were trying.
Most days,  Finn and Kalvin wrestle together.  Bicker.  Harass and torment one another like normal brothers.  Right?  But they also have their moments.  Moments of sharing.  Hugging.  Actually enjoying one another. 

Finn is a typical little brother in that he mimics all that Kalvin does.  And says.  He wants to be just like his big brother.  And that annoys Kalvin, at times.  But they also share a lot of laughs and giggles.  And when they do I think,   "Ahhh, this is what Dr. Cloherty was talking about."  

The laughter and camaraderie siblings share is like no other.  The best kind of medicine for the whole family.

And then there are moments when I see Finn actually leading Kalvin.  Coaxing Kalvin to try something new.  I witness Kalvin trying to mimic Finn.  Trying to walk on a sidewalk curb or climb a structure at the park the way Finn is doing.  And I admit, it breaks my heart.  And I find myself wondering if this is what Dr. Cloherty really meant by,  "It will be good for Kalvin?"
I worry about the day when Finn becomes obviously more coordinated than Kalvin.  How will Kalvin handle that?  I observe Kalvin watching Finn maneuver the stairs with ease now and wonder what he is thinking.  What is this noticeable coordination difference going to do to Kalvin's self confidence?  His self esteem?   Then we have a day at the park like the one we just shared and I know it is all good.  It is how it is all meant to be.
  They are brothers and they will build each other up.  Motivate one another to be better.  Push each other.  Propel one another forward.  They are brothers.  And then I know this is what Dr. Cloherty was talking about.  Together, they are the best medicine for all of us. 

The pictures tell a much better story:
Finn desperately wanted to go back to the "bumpy slide" park where he had gone with his babysitter.  So I obliged and we headed off to the "bumpy slide" park.  Kalvin wasn't so sure he wanted to come, but we bribed him with a game of baseball at the park.  When we arrived,  Finn bee lined it for the bumpy slide. And Kalvin followed.

There it is.  The "bumpy slide" in all its glory. 
It is made of rollers.  How cool!
Finn came down and went back up to coax Kalvin down the slide.  And guess what?
He did it!
And loved it!  Sort of.
A little climbing.
"Go Finn Go," we cheered.
And Kalvin was there to guide Finn.
And then I saw Finn darting off towards The Beast.  The big, big slide. 
And I looked up.
Way up.   And my heart.  Sank.  Will  Kalvin do this?   He has never climbed this high.
And Finn started to climb.
And look who followed.  Brother.
And they both kept climbing.
All the way to the top!  Now my heart starting beating rapidly.  Will Kalvin go down the slide?  Will he try and turn around?
He hesitated.
Yelled out.  And.
Finn came down.
And then look who followed.  Brother.
What fun.
Oh my.  He did it. Fun really isn't what I would title this picture.
Back up for some more.  And look who is in the lead.
The look on his face says it all.  .
He is totally stepping out of his comfort zone
And for this guy, just another day at the park.

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