Where they get to have each other.
This is the reason, I want to say. This right here:
Two girls, in a tennis lesson. Nervous, because it's the first time. Awful at smacking the ball, because their mother's never shown them how, because their mother doesn't know herself. Awkward and unable, but not alone.
Two boys, stuck behind the fences while they wait the hour out. Rattling the chains, climbing up two leg lengths before falling down again. Throwing rocks into the flowers. Playing in the water fountain until both their shirts are wet.
Oh, they fight. Eighty percent of the time, they fight. They yell words like "hate" and "mean" and "stupid." They hit each other, and steal toys - to make the other cry, not to get the toy. And there are times I want to send them to the four furthest corners of the house and leave them there in lonely isolation until their father comes home with a grain more of sense than I have. In hopes that he can end the screams.
But these times. These times right here:
A call for partners, and they already have one.
Mind-boggling boredom, that they navigate together.
When I was small, my brothers and sisters were grown. I came behind them by ten years, the last car on a train that left the station long ago. Of course, they dragged me about. They fed me and watered me. They yanked me along on hikes, let me try on their wedding veils, brought me books to disappear inside, and picked me up from car crashes where I'd smashed some man's blue truck. They loved me, and I loved them. But I wasn't part of the screaming and the fights. And I wasn't a part of this.
People stop me in the grocery store. They deliver smart comments, and count the children up and down my cart. They mark their ages, and they mark mine. And they pass judgment on my seeming inability to know that 1+1=yet another 1 more.
Well, this is the reason, I want to say. This right here.
This part where they get to have each other.