It's been one of those days.
They started in on each other early,
griping and ordering each other about.
Over and over again, I corrected wretched behavior,
and wretched words,
and ugly expressions.
While I cut up meat for the crock pot dinner this morning,
I heard a tumult arise in the living room.
One of them had unleashed frustration and smacked another.
The one who was smacked had been forcing a foot into the other one's face.
But it had been in retaliation for the smacker's foot rudely placed.
Part of training to be family, is being a family in training.
"This is not kind, and you will speak kindly to your sister."
"That is rude, and you will not do it."
"You speak nicely to him."
"No. Try again. That was the wrong way to do that."
"Be respectful. Speak politely."
Over and over and over again.
They are siblings already.
But they must practice brotherly love.
Years of practice and discipline
will (hopefully) one day be worked out in real love.
You see, my dear siblings and I
did not start out with our arms wrapped around each other's waists,
and longing to be together when we are apart.
We practice how we ought to behave,
and we mature to feel what we ought to feel.
We cry with joy over each other's babies,
and share our food willingly,
and stay up all night long waiting for good news,
or praying our fears into help,
and coming to the rescue when lives break down.
We stop responding to offered help with a punch in the eye,
and we grow to accept the massage,
or the steadying arm,
or the help dressing when we've become too weak to do it ourselves.
Because that is what brothers do.