Bullying brothers beware

On the way home from a recent trip to Kentucky, our middle son did something he has never done before, at least in front of me. He punched his older brother square in the head with full intention to hurt. Just like that, his skinny arm shot across the aisle and landed right on the temple. I saw the jab in the rearview mirror and almost crashed the van. I was in such shock that I could only exclaim “Andrew!” while my husband Doo literally lost his fashizite. I pulled off at the next exit so our awe-struck family could pull itself together.

What had happened? Why had our sweet boy suddenly snapped? Amidst a flood of tears in the men’s restroom off I-65, he explained to Doo that he’d finally tired of being bullied by his bratty brother. That he couldn’t stand for one more second the teasing and the taunting. So he’d hit him, and hit him hard. (Lest you be concerned for the injured party, the only bruise suffered was a massive one to his ego.) Doo, in an amazing testament to his parenting skills, calmly walked Andrew through the cons of using physical violence to solve one’s problems, but then ended with “Nice shot, by the way. Don’t ever do it again, but definitely a nice shot.”

It was. Back on the road, I had to stifle a giggle. How many times have I myself wanted to pop my first-born? 10? 20? And that’s just in the past week. Fifteen-year-old boys are buttheads, plain and simple. Is it any wonder that some dark part of me is still applauding my courageous seventh-grader for taking him down a peg? I am, after all, always telling my kids to stand up for themselves and not to become victims. How can I possibly be angry that one of our sons finally fought back?

The weird thing is, their relationship has significantly improved since the controversial beat-down. Sure my soon-to-be driver continues to deliver condescending remarks and smart aleck comments on a regular basis, but I have not heard any of his usual ribbing about my younger son’s height (Andrew is significantly shorter than his six-foot brother) nor have I seen any attempts by said giant to bully his sibling off the Xbox. Our freshman has been treating Andrew more as a friend, and dare I say, with a modicum of respect. Hooray!

I guess you just never really know how close someone is to his breaking point until it all explodes in one horrific, but somehow glorious, moment. Even a blow to a loved one’s big noggin can have positive results. Peace out.