December 7th, 2012
One thing the Tech Guru and I have never been very good at: splitting up.
When we became a couple, we did everything together: food shopping, we both went. Any kind of errand, we were both there.
You would think that would have changed with the arrival of Punksin and Pudding, but as much as we’ve been able to, our default has always been to do everything together as a family. Punksin has swim practice? We all go. If we are all available, we all…go. That’s just…how we do things.
Of course, this approach has drawbacks. Many things don’t get done as quickly as they should, because when one of us could be doing one thing and the other something else, we’re both doing…one thing. Another drawback is that the kids don’t get to spend as much one-on-one time with a parent as perhaps would be nice. Not only that, but it would be good for THEM to be apart sometimes.
And so yesterday, when the Tech Guru came home from work and his doctor’s appointment, he had to run back out to the pharmacy to fill a prescription. And Pudding asked if he could go, and we said yes, and off they went.
Punksin immediately came to me with a request.
I gave my consent, and on my computer she went.
About an hour later, Pudding came in, clutching a small bag in his little hands. He came to me in the bathroom where I was getting ready to go out, and whispered to me.
I smiled at him and took the bag.
I know they get on each other’s nerves. I know this. Punksin is the bossy big sister and she often thinks she is filling in for me even when I am RIGHT THERE. Pudding is the rebellious baby brother, striving to be independent and not be told what to do, reminding his sister all the time that “you are not the boss of me!”
They constantly argue. They constantly fight. They constantly bicker. They constantly drive each other insane.
Yesterday, for a few precious moments, they were apart. They had space to breathe, space to be themselves without the shadow of the other, space to be with one parent, uninterrupted, unrivaled.
And what do they both decide to do?
For each other.
Punksin went online to look for a toy that her baby brother wants, that she wants to get for him – with her own hard-earned money.
Pudding came in with a bag holding a book of crossword puzzles that he wanted to give his big sister for Christmas. It’s one of those books you see close to registers, a small paperback book filled with celebrities, most of whom I am sure Punksin will not know.
And yet…he thought of her. And wanted to use this rare time apart to get her something.
As she did him.
This is not quite O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi, for sure, and yet, it still warms me through and through.
May they always love each other this way.