I love this picture. It was taken several years ago…these boys are just days away from completing their junior year in high school. One has longer hair now, the other’s is shorter. They have both grown many inches, but neither seems to have gained any weight at all. Their birthdays are one month apart and they each got their driver’s licenses pretty much the very day they were eligible and the six months of state imposed rules disallowing passengers was easily remedied by their tandem drives every where they went. Only one technically lives with me, but the other one might just as well as his comfort level is such that he will (usually) politely express his displeasure if the pantry is not stocked to his liking and will interact with Jessie in a manner only slightly less abrasive than Harrison’s.
They first met as four years-olds when Harrison, being a fall baby, had, after three years, emotionally graduated from his first preschool (read: I’d enough) and switched to the neighborhood Temple program for that final year before kindergarten. Alex, who had been there throughout, was too shy to speak much in those days, but that is where the bond began and, for all intents and purposes, has only grown.
Growing up is hard enough, but trying to do it without a best friend who knows all about your family craziness (and still sticks around!) is, in my book, impossible. When George first made the transition to Jessie, Alex was among the first to be told. His reaction was priceless…he literally shrugged his shoulders and then (and this part is a little fuzzy) probably told her to go get him some chocolate covered pretzels. To Alex the news was not shocking and just kinda didn’t matter. Love that about him. Jessie holds nothing back while in Alex’s presence and will, without hesitation, tell him to shut up or go away whenever she so desires. Alex, in turn, will respond with his signature shrug and leave her alone, but not before feigning ignorance or blaming Harrison for being the catalyst for her upset.
The boys are quite different from one another in so many ways, not the least of which is their culinary risk-taking. While Harrison will try just about any food you put in front of him, Alex will not. (Irony of this: Alex’s mother is a fantastic cook. Harrison’s is not.) For every boat of sushi Harrison will inhale, Alex will always opt for the pasta with butter or chicken fingers. I’ve learned to adapt my menu accordingly. They both, however, love a good burger and they have long ago ceased ragging on the other for their food choices.
But it goes further than that. They are the kind of friends that will always have one another’s back and will happily slap the other one upside the head when the other screws up. I have visions of them texting when they find themselves adults with families of their own wondering how their parents made it all look so easy. (Props to RW, JW and RR) And when that time arrives, Alex will be the sole proprietor of the country’s largest and most lucrative car dealership and he will be sure to set Harrison up in the rockingest family car he can locate on one of his many lots. Hopefully, he will share his friends and family discount with me, as I hope to have a cool car by the time I am free of schlepping children. At the same time, Harrison will be gently suggesting to Alex that he might want to think about buying a more practical car for his growing family, since the Lamborghini, while cool, is not the best choice at this particular point in his adult life.
Alex has been unabashedly plugging the merits of my blogging about him for months now. He knows that he is part of the family and I make every effort to enforce this; particularly when I need him to do something for me. Like fix my network connection, or take out the garbage, or pick up the babysitter – who happens to be his sister – so that he and Harrison can go out. Oh, and the other thing about Alex? He cracks me up. And these days that goes a long way.