‘I’ve been trying to catch him my entire life!’
If they did, Boots could certainly relate. He's met the enemy, and it's Big Guy.
Big Guy, who can swim like a fish and dive to the depths of the pool. Big Guy, who can jet around the neighborhood at warp speed on his bike. Big Guy, who's an ever-present reminder of what his brother can't do.
"It's no fair! I've been trying to catch him my entire life," Boots wept recently.
I take the blame for that bout of misery. It came one night this week, when Boots wanted to ride bikes to buy bubblegum at the shoppette. It's only about a mile round-trip, and I thought Boots could handle it. The tiny incline on the way back kicked his butt, though, and he choked out sobs as he pushed his bike back home. In the cruelest twist of fate, the shoppette was closed by the time we'd gotten there, so he didn't get his bubblegum either.
He's not old enough to remember - and I'd forgotten - that Big Guy had gone through the same thing a year and a half ago. He got mad to the point of refusing to ride his bike for a month simply because I could ride faster.
Neither does he realize that in many ways he's ahead of where Big Guy was at the same age. Big Guy didn't learn to ride a bike until he was 6 and a half. Boots was 5, almost 6. Big Guy was almost 7 when he learned to swim. Boots can actually do a few strokes before he lapses into doggy paddle, and he just turned 6.
Nor does he recognize that there are things he can do already that Big Guy can't. Boots can smoke his brother at any board game except Monopoly. Boots' penmanship is neater, too.
I keep reminding Boots of all that, but he doesn't accept it. His reality is what he sees right now: A big brother who can do things that he can't. He thinks it will always be that way.
Sometime when Big Guy's not around, I'll tell Boots about the Williams women - Serena has more Grand Slam titles. Or maybe the Maddux men - younger brother Greg has just a few more Cy Young awards than Mike. Or possibly the Kwans. What? There were two of them?
Keep chasing, Boots. Someday you'll catch him.
Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.