Originally posted Jan. 27, 2008
Holly sure has a way with words. Yesterday,
after we dropped Noah off at his friend's house, she said
the coolest thing.
"Ahh, flooded with freedom," she wistfully
sighed, with arms outstretched. Perplexed, I
turned around to see what was up. Cool air from the open
window washed over her half-smiling face, as she reclined like
a wilted flower against the seat back. Huh. Turns out,
or so she said, that she was thrilled to have an hour of peace with
her older brother otherwise occupied.
Control of the remote, her parents' undivided attention
and liberation from unsolicited wrestling matches notwithstanding,
sometimes a girl just needs a breather. Sounds
I found it odd, though, as Holly often provokes her big
brother, as little girls often do, inspiring those matches.
And the kids usually prefer the same shows on TV.
Noah's taught her how to play his games and often
expresses admiration for her skills, even when she beats him.
They are two peas in a pod, each other's favorite
playmate, with conflict being the exception rather than the rule.
(Don't you just wanna gag?)
I've always marveled at how thoughtful the kids are toward
each other. If I'm at the bank with one, a second
lollipop is always requested for the other. And if
Holly shops with me at Trader Joe's, "I need one for my brother,
too," she says, when the cashier offers her a balloon.
Recently, when Holly's ballet dress rehearsal was
slated for the same exact time her new BFF's birthday party was
scheduled to occur, Noah whispered conspiratorially to me, "We've
gotta find a way to get her to that party." My heart
just melted. I shouldn't be surprised at this
expression of Noah's tender heart on Holly's behalf, even though
he's only nine. Unless she kicks him in the crotch
(and she has), he always sticks up for her.
I always wanted a big brother. I was six
years old before I finally quit begging my parents for one.
I guess I came to grips with the facts of life,
realizing that it just wasn't in the cards. I got a
younger sister and two little brothers instead. I made
do, but it wasn't the same. I imagined a big brother
to follow, to tease, who would take care of me and always look out
for me. Why I longed for a big brother, I cannot even
imagine. Who knows? Maybe I had one in a
And then it came to me: perhaps Holly's
"freedom" comment belied the truth. Was she was
missing Noah already, though we hadn't even finished backing out of
his buddy's driveway?
This morning I found Holly curled up in a faded green
quilt in my bed, with three of her stuffed animal babies tucked in
"Hey Holly, remember yesterday when …Well, is it possible
that you were actually maybe missing Noah?" I asked
"Just a little?" I tried, wincing.
"No! Well, maybe a little," she hastily
added, showing me just how little with her fingers.
Then she yanked the quilt over her head and squealed
her little girl squeal.
"It'll be our little secret," I whispered, kissing her
Flooded with freedom, indeed.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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