We have been questioned over the years, have been the brunt of jokes, and suffered ridicule for having so many boys. We've always absorbed the jabs, knowing the punches were thrown with little or no thought. At times when the noise just does not stop, the action never ceases, and the exhaustion catches up with us, we have to admit we do wonder, "what in the world were we thinking when we had so many boys." Today, we were schooled in the beauty and wonder of brotherhood, and we walked away from this lesson with little question as to why God gave us so many boys.
Today, Alex had his first South African rugby game. His team named him captain, and his coaches gave him the position of, "lock." Both are dubious honors, which our boy felt very undeserving of, and he did not want to disappoint. His nerves were hopping this morning, so much so, that he forgot his uniform in the house. As always, Aden was right there helping Alex get his gear together. Aden asked if he could be released from school early so he could watch his big brother's away game. We gave Aden the permission slip to leave school early, and as Alex aired his anxieties on the way to school, Aden put them to rest.
We picked all our boys up from school and took them to watch Alex's first game. Rugby is a rough game, but Alex's Uncle Tim told him to, 'go in 100%,' so that is exactly what he did. He gave all he had and he got pretty beat up in the process, but he gave it his all. Meanwhile, Aden sat on the sidelines watching his big brother's every move. When the final whistle blew Aden was the first one to reach his brother. Motivated entirely on his own, Aden ran to Alex, embraced him, pulled him close to his face, and told him how well he had played. He laid it all on the line for his big brother, "Alex, you did a great job. I am really proud of you."
In that brief moment I caught Richard's eyes. We shared a knowing look. Moments like this erase all the hardships, all the exhaustion, and all the doubts of having so many sons. We knew in an instant that we could never give our boys more than giving them one another.
Our boys are loud. Our boys are not always neat. Are boys are sometimes late. They make messes. They are seldom still. They talk a whole lot. They are not easily managed, and they have their fair share of fights. The bad definitely out numbers the good, but the good out weighs the bad a million to one.
Between our brothers and brothers-in-law Richard and I are blessed to call 13 men our brothers. We know what it means to have somebody's back no matter what, and so do our sons. We don't have much in monetary terms to offer our boys, however, today watching Alex and Aden, we felt like millionaires. I think if either Richard or myself were given the choice of all the riches in this world, or our brothers, both of us would chose the latter with no thought at all. Realizing these same values have been passed down to our sons leaves us so thankful to our Heavenly Father. This self less love could not exist without the ONE, who created brotherhood. We are so honored He deemed us worthy to have front row seats in watching it unfold over and over again, as we watch our sons grow into men of God.
So, Merritt, David, Todd, Tom, Tim R. , Mike, John, Bill, Bob, Tim H., Trevor, Brian, and Sam. Thanks for showing us how to raise brothers right! We love and miss you more than words.