You couldn’t find two more different little boys.

That’s not totally true. We’ve all quite unique. But seeing distinctions in the lives of two one-year-olds is more fun than two adults sitting together attempting to connect and get along.

Cal and Ward are four months apart. Cal, the older, is quite a bit bigger than his cousin. He’s the gentle giant to Ward’s feisty little guy. Both are quick to grin, love to cuddle, and are a little hesitant with strangers. Both are constant-motion machines following very different compasses.

Their mothers are sisters, similar and yet different.

Aside from that genetic connection, these two are polarities apart in temperament, which mitigates how they interact with one another.

Cal was laying on the floor the other night, chilling. He can be quiet when he chooses not to sound like a pterodactyl. That sound makes my ears hurt.

Ward ambled over to him, squatted beside him, and began smacking him in the face. Not hard, but others would have had a reaction.

Not Cal.

Then Ward straddled him, his rump in Cal’s face, and lay spread-eagle on his cousin.

That’s when Cal had enough. It could have been the diapered bum by his nose, or he might have reached his limit.

The pterodactyl scream hit the airwaves, and someone finally grabbed Ward and removed him from Cal’s stomach.

Cal chatters all the time. He has intonation and a few words, and he wants to get his point across.

Ward is an observer. He watches everyone and everything, waiting for his move. Which he will make.

I love these two, but even in my interactions with them, I can’t treat them the same. They need different things; they respond to different attitudes.

Even in food, they’re different. Ward is a total carnivore, loving meat of most kinds. Cal, on the other hand, may be the youngest vegetarian I know. He turns his nose up to most meat and eggs. He’s happiest with a bowl of fruit or peas.

This is the beauty of relationships. What makes them exciting and stretching is that we’re all different. No matter how similar we appear to be, how consistent our backgrounds are, our stories and their depth add a whole new dimension to who we really are.

All of our stories matter. To God.

Every life is filled with challenges, pain, loss, sorrow, and disappointment. The best stories written are filled with those things in life that cause our character to grow and develop.

There’s no adventure in “Once upon a time…and they lived happily ever after.”

Because everyone lacks perfection, we’re prone to hurt one another and ourselves with our words and actions.

But God, in His love for us, gives us the grace to learn from our mistakes, to seek forgiveness, to restore what’s been destroyed. He alone is the strength we need to do what we can’t do on our own–love others well and consistently.

Cal and Ward are at the front end of their relationship. They will continue to play together–and hurt each other. But as they’re taught to apologize and own their mistakes, the relationship will thrive.

Good relationships are all about dealing with each other’s messes.

 

 

 

 

 

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