Monday, January 17, 2011

Brother + Brother = For Life

If you have read my stories and done the math, you know I have two sons. You know I have two sons nine years apart in age. They are now 15 and 24. Their birthday's are March 6th and April 19th, respectively. Which means they are not far from being 16 and 25.

When I became pregnant with Joshua. He was all that was on my mind. And, as the years passed, he remained the only child on my mind. Having a spouse that drinks too much, and being strapped financially, do not equal need more children. I had one glimmer of surprise and hope when Josh was about 1 1/2 years old. But that was not to be. So, the years continued to pass.

Somewhere around the time Joshua was about seven years old, our lives changed for a couple of years. My ex husband quit drinking. At all. Life was better, he and I were getting along, and the Lord blessed us again. Joshua was eight years old. Everyone was excited. I was thirty years old, and ready for another child. I was a little worried about Joshua. He had been my one and only for so long. We were so close. For years, we were all each other had. If you know anything about a parent who drinks, you will understand what I am saying. But that seemed to be in the past. And it was..for awhile.

Zachary is born. How in the world would two boys nine years apart ever get along. How would they ever have anything in common. How would I balance the time I had between two children, who would obviously be miles and years apart.

From the day Zachary entered our worked. It just all worked. Joshua was like any other "only" child at first. A little jealous. A little wary. But Joshua's heart is as big as Idaho. And none of that lasted very long. Zachary gave us humility, a share gene, laughter and love. He was such a happy baby. We all needed a dose of what Zachary brought with him.

Now I will not tell you they didn't fuss. They did. Like any brothers of any age.."He's in my room, he's in my things, he's touching me, he's talking to me, he won't play with me". But they both loved each other with a passion I could have never imagined.

My marriage began to deteriorate again. The drinking had resumed. And we divorced. My boys', holding onto security, and each other, became even closer. We moved to Quincy. Just the three of us. And they grew closer still. 

Joshua moved out of our home when he was 18 years old. He was ready to live his own life the way he wanted to live it. I had placed some personal restrictions and Joshua wanted to be on his own. He was ready to spread his wings and live. Joshua was 18 years old and Zachary was 9 years old. This was the first "real" time I saw how deep their love ran for each other. Joshua packed his things over a period of days. And on the last day Joshua was to move the last of his things out, we were at home. He was getting ready to leave and Zachary took once last shot at trying to make him stay. He ran out of the house and hysterically flung himself onto Joshua, his body racked with tears, sorrow and pain. Joshua was literally prying Zachary's hands from his body.  I know it broke Joshua's heart, because it ripped mine out of the frame.

The next week, I thought things were a little better. Zachary and I had been home for about an hour. I had been cooking supper, it was done, and I was looking for Zach to tell him it was ready to eat. I looked all through the house. Walked out the front door, then around to the back. Calling his name. Receiving no response. No Zach. As I came back inside again, my heart was beating faster than normal. My insides were feeling ooky. Like it does right before a Mother starts to panic. Mothers everywhere will know what I mean.  And then I turned toward Joshua's old room. The door was shut. We were keeping it shut. It was empty and sad. I pushed open the door. And there sat my baby, on the floor, up against the wall, where Josh's bed used to be. In that cold, empty room. Crying. Zachary never cries. But his body was shaking and he was crying so very hard. I remember whispering his name. I think because I could barely get it to come out of my mouth. My tongue felt frozen. My mouth was dry. I went over to his little body and sat down beside him. And we just cried. It was the loneliest I think either of us have probably ever felt. After a few minutes I held out my hand, he took it and we walked out of that empty room together. Broken. And quiet. Trying in our own way, to figure out, how we were going to get past this time in our lives. How to deal with the amputation of a limb from our bodies.

We did. Get past it. It was difficult, and we didn't quite know what to do with each other alone. Zach and I. But we learned. We learned to coexist without our best friend. Joshua made sure he spent as much time as possible with Zachary. They spent many Saturday's together. Walking the mall, going to the movie theater and eating out at their favorite food places.

The next time I knew that nothing in this world would ever break these brothers apart was about three years later. Mims and I had finally made two houses into one, and we were all living together. Mims, Zach and I . Zachary was 12 and Joshua was 21. Earlier I told you that when Joshua moved out we had a difference of opinion of how he could live, while in my house. Joshua told me when he was eighteen years old that he was gay. I have to say, I had no idea. Not really. Do mothers ever really know? The fact that he was gay was not the problem. I loved my son the second before he told me he was gay, and I loved him the second after. But Zachary was still a small boy. He was nine years old. I didn't feel he was old enough to understand those things. So Joshua living freely and open in our home, would not be possible. Not then. And that was not fair to Joshua. He deserved what everybody else wants. To love and be loved. Open and free.

I'm going to take a minute and explain my personal reasoning. For waiting to tell Zachary. Children are mean. Teenagers are mean. When Zachary learned about his brother, I wanted him to understand. I did not want to tell him about Joshua until he was old enough to understand himself. His own body. He had not even gone through puberty yet. I didn't want Zachary questioning himself or his own manhood. Questioning who he was, and what would he be? And more important that all of that, I didn't want him to ever be ashamed or embarrassed of the brother he loved more than life. I didn't want him sitting on the back of a school bus, listening to the older boys calling each other faggot or queer and him sink back quietly in his seat. Ashamed of his brother. Zachary has always stood tall and larger than life. I would not let that change. I have no regrets about my decision. But I have to admit, I highly underestimated my youngest son.

When the time came to tell Zachary, and it just was, the time. Josh and I both sat down, and talked to him together. And told him. I have never seen Zachary more angry than that day. At me, at Joshua. How dare we think he would not understand that. How dare we think he would care. How dare we think we would know how he felt or that it would ever matter. How dare we think he would love Joshua less or differently. How dare we would think he could ever be ashamed of his best friend, his brother. That is the day I knew. Nothing would ever separate or come between these two brothers. Nothing. Ever.

In 2009, when Joshua moved to Tuscaloosa, to go to college, Zachary and I had another growth hurdle to pass. But it was time for Joshua to go..again. It was time for him to spread his wings ..again. These two boys will always be closer than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes now, it's as if there are no barrier of years between them at all. I cannot wait to see, both of my boys as grown men. What a wonderful relationship they are going to have...if it's even possible for it to be any more wonderful than it already is...

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims


  1. what aloving story. you can feel the love for each other.This is what makes a family;

  2. Looks like to me you have done a great job Michelle. I personally don't know how I would handle a situation like that. But if I ever have to, I hope I get it done half as good as you did,I would be happy. It is a cruel world out there, and not only kids make smart remarks, but grown adults do as well. I'm with you, NO MATTER What, and I do mean WHAT my kids do, I will LOVE them unconditionally! I swear you missed your calling~♥

  3. Bravo Michelle... You truly speak from the heart.:)

    Love you friend, Roxanne

  4. Love this story - your boys are awesome - you should be very proud.

  5. Meeechelle you should be proud of the mother that you have been and continue to be to your boys ... for them to be soooo very close with such an age difference is a testiment to your love and guidance as a Mother!!!