Change of Heart

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Last year, Liam was just about the last person Kieran wanted to see in person or hear someone talk to him about.

It was probably because he was either asked: “Is Liam your brother?”

“Have you seen Liam around?”

“How’s it going, Little Liam (or Little Hower)?”

Or because he was called “Liam” more times than not during the course of any one day.

Then Liam moved to the high school and Kieran got the whole middle school to himself.

Soon, it became:

“Liam, can you help out the Math Counts team on Mondays after school?”

“Liam, run with me during cross country.”

“Liam, we are rooming together for TSA!”

I’m glad that Kieran has changed his feelings about having Liam around now that they are not together as often.

I’m glad that Kieran is looking up to his brother and not seeing him as someone to “get away from” or disown.

I am especially thankful that, while they certainly don’t see eye to eye on everything, they are friends, maybe even the best of friends most of the time.

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Texting Relationship

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Liam is more likely to share what he is thinking and feeling through texting.

Because he uses perfect grammar and spelling,

And does not even write “K” or “ok,” but spells out “okay” and capitalizes his “I,”

I especially love reading his texts.

 

I can tell when he’s ready to be picked up when he tells me “Done soon” or “Where are you?”

I know he is a bit bored when he texts “Hi, what are you doing?”

I feel his love when he texts me heart emojis and wishes me “sweet dreams” before he turns his phone off for the night.

I know he’s a bit lonely when he writes, “When will you be home?”

 

I look forward to hearing from him right after school, when he gets off the bus, or from a practice or rehearsal at night.

It’s an easier and direct way for him to share his thoughts and feelings.

I am thankful for texting and how it has kept us connected during his first year of high school.

If it wasn’t for Liam…

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If it wasn’t for Liam, Mea and Kieran wouldn’t do as well in math.

If it wasn’t for Liam, I wouldn’t hear beautiful music in my home.

If it wasn’t for Liam, we would not have started running 5ks on summer, fall, and spring weekends.

If it wasn’t for Liam, we wouldn’t cheer on the band every Friday night and weekend in the fall.

If it wasn’t for Liam, I wouldn’t have anyone to talk with about poems or short stories that he was assigned, or learn anew about Imperialism and World War I history.

If it wasn’t for Liam, I wouldn’t have someone giving me hugs and telling me he loves me at least ten times a day.

If it wasn’t for Liam, there would be a huge hole in my heart and less rich experiences in my life.

Shadows

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Kieran competed in Technology Student Association competition this weekend.

He probably joined the group initially because Liam had been so successful at it.

It’s sort of what we’ve been doing in our household for the past two years.

Two years ago, Liam had been the only 7th grader to qualify for nationals.

Last year, he had been the only middle school student to qualify.

Kieran was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work that was going into this activity.

He seemed to be struggling and I shared that he didn’t have to participate in TSA anymore if he didn’t like it.

I asked him to just get through Saturday’s competition and then make a decision.

Kieran placed 1st or 2nd in all of his four events.

I had slightly underestimated him, to be sure.

When we got home, I talked to him privately.

“Kieran, you tried cross country and did better than Liam did in his seventh-grade year.

Now you are have placed in more events as a seventh grader than Liam did, and he went to nationals.

You are seen.

You are talented.

You don’t have to feel like you are in Liam’s shadow anymore.

You are achieving and growing on your own.”

He told me he’d think about what I had said.

Ironically, when I posted his picture and success after Saturday’s event on social media, a few of my friends wrote, “Congrats, Liam!”

His comment: “I’m not in his shadow, am I, mom.”

But I will continue to know and tell him differently.