Battle plan: Love conquers all


In preparation for kindergarten, yesterday was my oldest child’s first visit to the optometrist. He is usually trusting and agreeable, so when he bucked at the suggestion for eye drops, I did what all baffled mothers do when their kids say no: I refused such an answer.

Tears and sobs ensued for one panic-stricken moment, until little brother upped the ante by flying out of the corner like a spider monkey to attack our sweet, unsuspecting doctor.

“Don’t hurt my brother! Mom, let’s get outta here! Run, JoJo!” were the 3-year-old’s passionate battle cries. After a small skirmish, both boys were bribed with bubblegum and talked down to a normal level of white-coat anxiety. Josey oh-so-bravely received the eye drops while holding my hand and his brother’s fist. I prayed the dimmed lights hid my flushed cheeks and smile. I cherish the devotion between these two boys.

Our family spent last week on vacation at a beach near Charleston, SC, a place with a war-torn history that dates back to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. These brutal times waged brother against brother in fights over principles—a hellish nightmare for any family. It had me wondering, how do we foster friendship and love between siblings?

My boys share a bedroom and their parents’ love, but the rest is up for grabs. Disputes over toy-territory or anything else are taken to a higher court: Mom or (worse) Dad. I long for my boys to grow up as best friends, but it seems impossible for parents to guarantee anything about the future of their children, other than our love for them. And maybe all we can do is the best we can do: just love them. My careful kid and the carefree one are completely different—and I’m crazy about them both.

The outcome of our optometrist visit was a pair of cool, new glasses. No doubt they’ll be broken as soon as the brothers come to blows over something silly, but one thing is sure. Wiley will be starting school in two years. It’s time to start preparing my serious-face and apologies for when the principal calls about those Gaynor Brothers.

Neena Gaynor is a Kentucky wife, mother, daughter and beekeeper who does life in Owensboro. She also writes on her blog at and can be reached via email at


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