Separate and Not Equal

Long before there was August, there was Oscar and Edgar–and, really, their names should be italicized since they were as much a team as Laverne and Shirley or spaghetti and meatballs.  When they were little, they were often mistaken for twins; and as they got older, one seldom went anywhere without the other. 

Of course, going to school set them up to have their own experiences–field trips, birthday parties and the like.  They learned and understood that sometimes one would be invited to a classmate’s birthday party and not the other, and that sometimes one got to go on a field trip while the other stayed in school.   They learned fairly young, too, that “fair” is not everyone always getting the same thing but everyone getting what they need. 

But today Oscar was invited to go out for ice cream with our new neighbor and his new best buddy.  He skipped into the house to get his shoes and some money, and for a split-second I thought I might write today about how this marks yet another milestone for Oscar–the “Can I have some money?” years (which, I assume, won’t end for a very long time).

But everything changed when Edgar bounded in–like an excited puppy at the mention of the words “ice cream.”  He said with eager eyes and an equally eager tone, “Can I go, too?”  And in unison, the two older boys let him know that he wasn’t invited.

And while it’s perfectly reasonable that our entire family (or most of it) would not be invited to every outing every time and that Oscar should have some of his own experiences without his brother(s), there was a part of my heart that broke for my middle son today.  He looked so dejected; and when he asked in rapid-fire succession, “Why don’t they want me?  Why can’t I have a friend?  Why did my best friend move away?” it took everything in me not to give in the emotion of it all. 

Oscar will have ice cream with his friend today, and next week Edgar might meet someone new and go to the movies with him or her while Oscar stays home.  There will be a balance; and at the end of the day–for now–they will come home to each other. 

In the meantime, I hope you’ll excuse me if I take this boy out myself–just the two of us–for the biggest, most delectable dessert we can find–because fair is everyone getting what they need–both him and me.

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2 thoughts on “Separate and Not Equal

  1. Wow Ms. Hines. I felt emotional myself reading this. I have an older sister, and even though it was many years ago, I remember the first time my sister went out with a friend and I was “not allowed” to join. I think I cried, so Edgar is already handling this situation very well!

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