I hadn’t noticed, but we had some toys on our shelf that had gone unloved for months. I had gotten so busy that I just hadn’t paid attention. Then, one day I saw my five year old joyfully playing with Angry Birds figurines that I hadn’t seen in quite some time.
I was so surprised that I asked him, “Are you playing with Firecracker’s Angry Birds figurines?”
His reply took me completely off balance. He said, “Yes. He gave them to me.” When Firecracker confirmed, I told him how nice it was of him to give his old toys to his little brother.
Inside when I was alone, I began to reminisce about the years that Firecracker spent playing Angry Birds games and collecting Angry Birds paraphernalia. I remembered our times building Angry Birds legos together, our attempts to play Angry Birds board games, the paper craft Angry Birds that he had made, and the little Angry Birds cube crafts he had put together. We had printed out dozens of Angry Birds coloring pages and had even printed and played (many times) Angry Birds War cards. We even used the Angry Birds National Geographic books for science and for geography for a time.
Over the past year, a new interest in Pokemon had come into Firecracker’s life and completely consumed all others. He is a living breathing Pokemon encyclopedia!!
However, in welcoming in the new interest, I didn’t realize that my little Angry Bird loving boy was growing up, and I found myself washing the dishes and crying. I didn’t even like Angry Birds, but because I loved him and it was his passion, they had taken up so much space in my world for so long. I mourned the passing of a stage in his life, a stage I had entered without even realizing that it was a stage of his boyhood.
As I reminced with myself, I saw Firecracker in his big brother role. I saw him teaching his little brother how to use the Angry Birds and shoot them, but I saw him also standing back and allowing his brother to experience those Angry Birds for himself. He was guiding Monkey with Angry Birds the same way that his father and I had once guided him.
I also saw something else. I saw him loving on Monkey in a way that I always want but hardly ever dare to hope will truly happen. Whenever they fight, I remind them that “Brothers love each other,” and as I saw him taking the role of guiding older brother with Monkey, I could see Firecracker’s love for Monkey shine through as well.
I hope they’ll always love each other. I hope that Firecracker will always be there to guide Monkey, and I pray that they’ll guide each other in the paths of righteousness. Just seeing that in Firecracker, who is not the nurturing type, was enough to make me cry all the more with the bittersweet feelings of happiness and pride in the maturity and love shown by an older brother while still feeling sad at how few years of childhood that Firecracker has left.