Last night and this morning I have been watching my daughter, Anne, be the camp know-it-all to her brother, Ty, as he was preparing for his first adventure to Trailblazer Camp at Durley. She kept trying to tell him what he needed to take, what to expect, and otherwise boss him around, but he was not the least bit interested in what she had to say. He wanted to have his own adventure, learn his way, and not hear her second-hand stories and advice. And then as I stood in line this morning waiting to sign him in, I was struck by the many contrasts that I see in my kids.

  • Standing in line with Anne is pretty non-eventful. She may walk over to some friends, hug, chat, or whatever, and then walk back to me. Standing in line with Ty is a completely different story. I never know where he is, I have to take his umbrella away because it is being used as a light saber/poker/bat/etc. I have to remind him to give his friend’s hat back multiple times. I have to remind him he is in line with me and not the friends in front of or behind us. And for Ty, walking never happens, but running, skipping, jumping and tight-rope walking does.
  • Packing with Anne is somewhat systematic. She has laid her clothing neatly in piles by day, and calmly helps me put it in the suitcase. When packing with Ty, you almost need full catcher gear as he will throw you everything that needs to go in the suitcase.
  • When I leave Anne at camp (or anywhere for that matter), I am not concerned that she may drive the adults in charge completely insane. She may get wound up a little, but knows her boundaries and limits. Leaving Ty, (and a few of his closest buddies) with their counselor this morning elicited a round of “we’ll be praying for you” from the moms to the counselor. These boys will bounce off the walls, will rough house with the best of them, and will never intentionally do something they aren’t supposed to, but can be a bit impulsive at times. So my concerns for Ty include whether or not he will get in trouble, injure himself or someone else, and whether or not I will have to pay for psychiatric help for his counselor at the end of three days.
  • While Anne was gone at camps much of the last two weeks, Ty and I have been swimming, gone for walks, taken naps, played outside, and helped out at Panther Academy (ok I helped and he ran around the gym like a little boy.) I am guessing that my days with Anne this week will also include things like swimming, walks, and naps, but on a much calmer level (yes, even naps will be calmer without Ty around). And I would guess I won’t have to remind her to sit down on the couch instead of standing and jumping on it when we decide to watch something on TV.

I love the gift that God has given to us in Anne and Ty and I love getting to see the many contrasts between boy and girl, first-born and second-born, and looks like Mom, acts like Dad introvert and looks like Dad, acts like Mom extrovert. And I love the fact that God uses my kids all the time to teach me things – particularly Ty – who teaches me about spontaneity, going with the flow, and the fact that 7-year-old boys are not physically able to sit still.

What are some of the contrasts between your kids or between you and your sibling(s)?