I had an amazing phone conversation with a dear friend a few weeks back. Her youngest son, who recently got engaged, had asked her older son to be his best man at his upcoming wedding. We were both overjoyed at this. I told her that she was ‘living my dream’. I would love for my boys to have that sort of connection in the future. I was so happy for her.
Later that day, I shared this conversation with my husband. He quickly informed me that this wasn’t that big of deal. Men don’t care all that much about the politics of a wedding party. He also went on to say it didn’t matter to him if our boys were each other’s best men.
Naturally, I was completely offended. How dare he think something like this is unimportant? How could he not want our boys to be the very best of friends?
I kept mulling this over in the coming days. I started to look at my boys differently because let’s face it, they are quite different from one another. They have no obligation to be friends, best men or best anything. Their only obligation is to be true to who they are.
They have shared a room for several years now. I decided in the vein of supporting them as individuals, to introduce the idea of separate rooms. My youngest, who is eight, was beyond excited. My ten-year old was a little more reluctant but his reasons were more logistical. He relies on his brother to turn on the light first thing in the morning and he didn’t want to do it himself. However, he did note the positives. He could sleep with the door open without a fight and it would be a lot more quiet.
The past couple weeks we’ve begun the transition to separate rooms for them and so far so good. Each is understanding that there is less compromise to being on their own, and also the time apart sometimes makes them more glad to see each other in the mornings. Sometimes.
In my gut, I know this has been the right time to do this. Part of me is sad that they are moving on and growing up. I feel better about it now that I’ve let go of expectations about how I think their relationship should evolve. It will unfold perfectly and turn out exactly as it should. Honestly, it isn’t my business. Helping them be who they are as individuals, that is my business.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent