Benjamin’s been fighting a cold for the past three weeks. Last night he was crying, loudly. Sebastian closed his door so he could complete his homework. For years, Sebastian would fall apart when Benjamin cried. He would yell at me, “Go take care of him.” He keep saying the noise was too much for him to handle. Three years ago, when Benjamin had his hip surgery, I bought Sebastian a pair of Peltor ear muffs. I always do my best to make Benjamin happy, but I’m not a miracle worker. I knew there would be a lot of crying after hip surgery. And there was. I will never forget Sebastian sitting in the car, out in the garage, wearing his ear muffs.
I wondered, was it the noise that bothered him or did he really care about his brother? My boys never had a typical sibling relationship. For years, I felt like a failure because they didn’t have any kind of bond. I wanted to believe Sebastian had an empathetic heart, but when questioned, he focused on the noise aspect and he’d never independently tried to comfort Benjamin. So I chalked up Sebastian’s discomfort to auditory sensory overload.
Sebastian has matured a great deal over the last three years. He’s a wonderful brother’s helper. He reminds us to give Benjamin his medications, warms up water to flush the G-tube, and takes out dirty laundry and diapers – all things that do not require direct interaction. Sebastian has also learned to stay calm when Benjamin cries and he doesn’t wear the ear muffs anymore.
Last night though, after Sebastian finished his homework, he came out of his room crying. He said, “Benjamin made a really loud noise and I just knew he was sick. It’s not the noise bothering me.” I hugged him tight, proud of his new found realization and the fact that he could articulate it.
Benjamin and Sebastian might not have the type of relationship I’d hoped for, but I’m happy to know I was completely wrong about their bond.
My heart is full.
Happy Valentine’s Day!