I used to get SO ANGRY at how absorbed my boys would become with playing video games. They would spend hours and hours killing zombies and forcing Spongebob to jump for a golden spatula, while the sun would shine and toys would gather dust. I would eventually lose my mind, threaten to take away the damn Xbox, and force them to get off and go outside and PLAY SOMETHING ELSE. ANYthing, just get off the video games!! And they would, because they were littler and that's what littler kids do. They play. They play on swings and build Legos and chase each other with light sabers and build forts.
And then, one day, Justin stopped playing. He stopped playing with his brother because, well, he wasn't little anymore. And he REALLY stopped playing. He stopped playing board games, card games, and any video game that was a cooperative one. He didn't even want to watch the same movies that the rest of us did! He went solo. Completely and utterly solo. Like a hermit crab, he retreated into his own corner of the house; the office, just beside the kitchen, where his computer was located. Close enough for us to SEE him, and know that he was alive, but far enough that hours would pass without any conversation with the rest of the family. His absence was profound and, no matter how much we tried, we couldn't seem to truly draw him back into the family core. The remaining 4 of us continued to play. We played toys and board games and card games and cooperative video games. We always, ALWAYS, invited Justin to join us, but the answer was, invariably, "no thanks."
Recently, something has changed.
Be it the influential presence of his girlfriend or other friends who visit more regularly, or the natural course of simply maturing; either way, he has ~knocks on wood, whispers and looks around furtively~ returned to us. I never thought I'd be so thrilled to hear that "rat-tat-tat" of automatic weapons from our television speakers as I currently am at this very moment. Because that sound means that my boys, Evan AND JUSTIN, are playing together again. Yes, they're killing virtual people together, but the operative word here is TOGETHER. They are PLAYING TOGETHER and laughing and shouting and having a grand old time TOGETHER. I am willing to overlook my pacifist tendencies a bit for the return of a physical and emotional presence by my firstborn. I am ecstatic to learn that the two of them hung out together last night, eating pizza, and watching a movie.
Seriously, I need to wipe a tear at that line.
My boys are friends again.
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