No offence Nicki (big sis) but when I was growing up I always wanted a brother.  Don’t get me wrong, sisters are amazing.  I mean, she cooked me delicious unhealthy dinners whilst parents were out, let me watch scary films way ahead of time, and gave life-saving fashion / style tips throughout those horribly awkward teenage years.  Plus, I feel like I really benefitted from the 5 year age gap between me and my older sister.  Watching her move through various seasons of life was like a heads-up on future joys and challenges such as; university, the world of work, home ownership, etc.

that particular dream of masculine, boisterous comradery had to die

I wasn’t picky about what sort of brother I wanted, though – older, younger, I didn’t really mind, but eventually I realised that particular dream of masculine, boisterous comradery had to die 😦 Fast forward a couple of decades though and, much to my surprise, I find myself father to not one, not two but three boys – brotherhood cubed, what more could I want!

I have loads of fun watching my boys and their relationships develop as each new boy has been welcomed into the family.  Like the contrast of introducing my eldest to his tiny baby brother in the special care incubator to seeing them put each other in choke holds a few years later..  Or taking both older boys into hospital to cuddle our new addition and now, a year & a half later, watching our youngest properly joining in with superhero cosplay.

It’s funny to think that when our first son was tiny he was playing with very wholesome wooden toys and balls, when our second son was the same age he was crawling around roaring with his brother’s fearsome dinosaurs and now it’s perfectly normal to see our 17 month old imitating Spiderman, shooting webs at his brothers (complete with sound-effects) as they run & jump all around him.  Goodness knows what he’ll be doing by the time he can run.

I’m so grateful to witness really tender interactions

I’m so grateful to witness really tender interactions like our eldest bottle feeding his little brother or times where our second son is asking his big brother something, clearly in awe of how cool and knowledgeable he is.  And then, in the next moment, your heart sinks as you see one antagonising the other who obliges by wildly over-reacting.  But I guess love / hate relationships are part of all good sibling relationships..

I was so convinced that our first child was going to be a girl that I bought pink bedsheets (which all boys have now used in the name of gender equality / because I couldn’t be bothered to return them..) but I couldn’t be happier that we seem to have ‘specialised’ in boys.  If nothing else, it saves getting to grips with a whole different set of confusing genitalia at nappy change time.

But it is a huge privilege to be able to raise men.  My hope and prayer for them all is that we don’t just raise brothers, but life-long friends.

By Si Cook