Editor’s note: I meant to publish this sooner, but an unfortunate tummy bug took control of my life for a few days….enjoy.
Shortly after Tate was born, there was a commercial for ESPN with the Manning brothers. All five of the Mannings were touring the offices. Archie and Olivia Manning are in the lead, very interested in the tour. Cooper Manning, the eldest, is right behind his parents. Lagging behind, Peyton and Eli are kicking and jabbing at each other…like brothers tend to do. Hubz and I watched the commercial, amused, and joked about how that would be our boys some day.
Of course, that is before the delays were painfully apparent. Before autism and ADHD diagnoses. And before we realized how different our family dynamic would be. It’s not wrong or bad…just different. Admittedly, after we found out about Tate’s autism, I mourned that he and his brothers would not have a “typical” sibling relationship–complete with rivalry, bickering, and secret moments that only they would “get”. I was stuck on that whole “social isolation” component of autism. It made my heart ache.
Luckily, our boys have always had a pretty good relationship. Different, yes, but they have always had some connection. As Tate has made gains over the past two years, the bonds have only strengthened. So, while our boys do have a slightly a-typical relationship with each other, there is so much typical in there that it makes me smile.
For instance,Tate and Jake giggle and chat in their room each morning before they emerge. They have inside jokes. They share glances and giggle. Yes. I said it. They share glances!!
Tate is a stereotypical middle child. He loves to instigate, prod, and tease. He also tends to feel, quite strongly, when one of his brothers is sad or hurt. He is usually the first to ask about their issue/problem, and is often quick to offer a tap on the shoulder. This tap is a huge thing for Tate…and it’s his way of connecting.
Tate and Cole share banter…a lot. They bicker, they shove, and they jab at each other. And often, they end up giggling together afterwards. As much as it does annoy me, I admit that it is somewhat comforting, as well. I love that my boys, even with all of their “shtuff”, connect. That connection is going to be important as they get older…
Last Saturday Tate had a soccer game. It was his first one of the spring season. As we walked back to the car afterwards, Jake put his arm around Tate’s shoulder. They were sharing a moment..and then it became a headlock, with Tate shrieking with laughter. He kicked his leg at Jake, playfully. Jake playfully shoved him aside. Hubz and I looked at each other…and knew, just knew….it was going to be all right.