We began our trip home from the beach on the afternoon of our third day together.  The Boy and Oldest Girl had enjoyed a Renaissance in their affections toward each other that The Husband and I had not recalled being so spontaneously playful since they were in second grade and kindergarten respectively.

Something shifted back, however, in the truck on the highway home.  It seemed every mile we traveled closer to the house, the more irritated Oldest Girl became with The Boy.  In fact, it got to the point that his very respiration clearly inflamed her. She would have happily covered his mouth and nose with her bare hands just to quiet is breath.  His most genuine and dulcet tones were met with pickled rage or worse, complete indifference.  There’s something incendiary about being ignored, and my children are as combustible as the rest of Adam’s brood.  After several honest attempts at accord, The Boy got as pissed as The Oldest Girl, and it was a Cold War as brutal and familiar as bad hair in the 80s in the backseat.

The husband and I discussed this after we got home, unpacked and got the kids to bed.  We agreed I should approach the subject with The Oldest Girl to hear the soundtrack that played in her mind during these encounters with her brother.

I invited The Oldest Girl to help me sort beach laundry to busy our hands as I approached the topic with her the next morning.  Her gestalt admission that she resented her brother was so immediate that I felt like I had been given an unwelcome Heimlich.  Eventually, we sat upon the tiles of the laundry room floor and shared tales of our brothers together. We sniffed, lamented, and shook our fists at the reality that we would always be junior to our only brothers.  After a time, I asked her to press into the first thought or event that made her feel unequal in status or value to her big brother.  I asked her to write a song, prayer, poem, card, or draw a picture or create a piece that helped her to identify what it was that made her feel less than so we could look at it together later and talk again.

Below, verbatim, is her response:

Dear [The Boy],

I’m sorry I’ve been jelouse of you.  It kinda feels like when you got a cell phone a green monster was born inside of me, and its been growing ever since.  The truth is I admire you.  You have 10 fencing medals and everyone in the club knows and likes you, you’re the most popular guy in class and every body wants to be your friend.  Next to that I feel insignificant.  I look up to you and wish that I could be as popular and privileged as you.  I know I shouldn’t and I half-heartedly try not to, but I do.  It seems unfair that you can go on fencing tournaments and have hour long computer turns.  In truth, I keep a score card in my head of what you got first and what you have more of.  I’m sorry that I see it this way and will honestly try to stop. My words mean only so much so with my actions I will show you that I mean it.

Love,

[The Oldest Girl]

Under the category of, “and a little child shall lead them,” this innocent epistle croons to my soul too often clogged with envy like cheese-hardened arteries.  It indicts my every human limit and broken Hallelujah.

Envy’s scorecard is an Hallelujah breaker.

I am a daughter of Eve, as is my daughter.  We were born broken, or at the very least fallen.  I am ever grateful for Grace.  I see blessed Mercy in Oldest Girl’s face as she risks vulnerability with her brother more naked than Cane ever staked with Abel.

As quiet and brave as a recon grunt, she shared her letter with The Boy before dinner that night.  His moist eyes baptized her with new comprehension.

I know they will keep their score cards and fight again,  They did not, however, that day. Yesterday they took a Sabbath from their battles on the new common ground they had charted together.

I’ll stand next to my little children before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!