Out of the brotherhood blue

The following conversation took place at bedtime. Both boys were already tucked into their bunk beds, story read, lights out, and waiting for night night song. It came out of the blue, like these conversations always do.

Sam: Mom, can I see a picture of my brothers and sister?

Me: (hesitant, since lights were already out, but considering that he has never asked before I oblige) Sure. (Hand him the picture which is in a frame right across from his bed on a shelf.)

Marcel: Who is Sammy’s brother?

Sam: I have three brothers Marcel, and a sister.

Marcel: Can I see?

Sam: (handing the picture to me to hand to Marcel in the bottom bunk) Yes. But just for a minute they are my brothers and sister, not yours.

Marcel (looking at the picture) Who are they?

Me: Those are Tea’s kids, (insert names here) who are Sam’s siblings too. They have the same first mommy as he does..

Marcel: Are you their Mommy?

Sam: NO! Tea is their mommy, and my mommy, and our mommy is our mommy too. But you only have one brother.

Marcel: I don’t want you to have these brothers and a sister without me! (Throws the picture on the bed.)

Me: You are Sammy’s only brother in our family, and his only younger brother.  That is very special. And you are the only little brother that Sam is growing up with everyday.  He loves you very much honey.

Marcel: Sammy I don’t want you to be looking at that picture anymore.(Kicking and thrashing at the sheets.)  I am not your best friend today.


After talking it through a little more, and soothing the worry away, I realized that we are entering into a new world of family relationship dynamics and mysteries.  Marcel needs lots of reassurance as Sam’s emerging understanding of his extended family stakes out new territory in his heart.

When I finally pulled the door shut, and heard the soft sound of snoring boys shortly there after, I just laughed to myself. This is not what I pictured night night was going to look like fifteen or so years ago, when the first images of children in my life began to surface.  The brotherhood blue has a lot in store for our family, of that I am certain!


  1. HS-it is not verbatim, but certainly close. Since I knew a blog post might come of this one, I sat down and typed short hand notes right after I shut the door. I have many of these little convo’s scripted all over the house. And I am this close to buying a recording device. Soon, I might interview Sam for the blog if he’s interested!

  2. Maya is also becoming cognizant of the fact that she has an extended family, including a brother and three sisters, that my other two older (biological) children do not somehow share. (Although, since we try to keep it all one family, they do feel, I believe, that Maya’s family is also theirs in an extended family way.) Maya is only 3. She uses the appropriate words as though she understands. But I know that she doesn’t fully get it.

    Mostly, Maya knows when I put her in the naughty chair that she can cry “I want my Mommy Nikki” and the other children don’t have that. Thankfully, I am confident when I respond that her Mommy Nikki would have put her in the naughty chair also. “Don’t even think that your Mommy Nikki wouldn’t have put you in that naughty chair for what you did!” (Thankfully, also, she really is a very well behaved child so that these instances are few and far between.)

    Perhaps the answer is that Sam’s brothers and sister are Marcel’s in-laws. That is sort of how I think of it. Our kids are the only non-married people that have in-laws. Maya’s family are my in-laws. Family by law and love, if not by blood.

    • In laws–I like that! Another friend wrote to me off line to say–why not consider them his extended family too–both getting at the same idea. I love that! Thanks for sharing that–and Maya’s understanding of the world!

      • yes, they are somehow marcels extended family too, since sam is marcel’s brother, anybody who is extended family of sam is extended family of all of you, you included. you all share this family, not just sam. i think you became T’s family when she birthed sam for you. if that does not make you family nothing does dear.

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