My children have very different personalities. The oldest is kind, considerate, extremely unorganized and forgiving to a fault. Some of these traits he inherited from his mama. The youngest is cautious, focused, type A and if he’s wronged, he holds a grudge. Proof of this was when he played baseball this summer. A little boy from an opposing team ran on the field.  My child turned to me and said,

“That’s the boy who took the ball away from me when I played soccer!”

He then walked past the kid, stared him down and gave him the universal sign for, ‘I’m watching you.’

This may not seem like a big deal if Jackson wasn’t referring to the 1 season he played soccer when he was 3!

He inherited these traits, especially the grudge thing, from his dad. My husband still talks about a friend from elementary school who tore his Bo Derek poster and even though he hasn’t seen this person in more than 30 years he insists that kid should be punished.

It’s those differences that can make my children the worst of enemies or the best of friends.

Last year, one of our cats died.  Before we buried her, my husband asked the boys if they wanted to say anything. My oldest stood, fighting back tears and said, “I’m not going to cry. She’s in a better place. She shouldn’t have to suffer.” My husband then asked our youngest if he would like to say something. To which he replied, “Yeah. Can you throw me the ball? Baseball practice starts in like an hour.”

More recently when my brother and his family left our house to head back to the west coast, Jacob was very sad. He enjoyed spending time with his cousins. As they pulled out of the driveway, Jacob ran into his room, lay on his bed and wouldn’t talk. Very out of character for him. I began offering bribes to take his mind off of everyone leaving.

“Would cookies or chocolate before supper make you feel better? How about a trip to Target? That always makes mommy feel better. Swimming? A sleepover?” 

Every question was answered with, “The only thing that will make me feel better is if they come back here.”

When Jacob said no to chocolate and a sleepover, Jackson felt like this was his queue to step in.

“Hey Jacob, what about money? Would money make you feel better?”

Jacob looked at his little brother in disbelief.  Exasperated Jacob responded, “NO, JACKSON! Money will NOT make me feel better! What is wrong with you?”

Jackson looked defeated. I could see that he was getting upset because his brother was so sad. Maybe my brother and his family leaving had a profound effect on him too. Maybe he was going to be sensitive like his mom. As I was about to lean in and comfort my youngest child, he looked up at me and said, “Um, Mom. Money will make me feel better.” And just like that, my little Jackson was back.

 You can reach Becky Andrews at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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