Vanessa was over and Adam and I were heading upstairs. The two gingers and Emma were planning to play Monopoly. Adam asked Emma, "Do you want Mark to go upstairs too?"
Historically Mark has been the younger brother we needed to sometimes shield our children's friends from. Emma said, somewhat surprised, "No, he can stay."
I guess where Mark used to be attention seeking and annoying, he is now attention seeking and really, really funny.
There aren't very many good things about Braeden being gone, but one nice side effect is that Emma and Mark are getting closer. Braeden and Emma have always been inseparable friends. Braeden and Mark had their brother thing going. Emma and Mark were mostly just tolerant of each other. There's been a shift.
We'll go on a walk and they'll walk ahead of us, no doubt engrossed in some strange conversation. (One time I asked them what they'd been talking about and they said they'd been considering what to do if they were at Disneyland and there was an active shooter. This is the world my children have grown up in.)
They linger in the hallway outside their rooms at night and I call down the hallway 30 times, "Go to bed!" They just keep talking.
When we picked Emma up from choir tour they happily sat side by side in the backseat. They were silent a lot (two introverts) but talked some and every time we stopped, they'd walk off together, talking about who knows what.
Mark asked Emma to go with him to his set painting party at his school on Saturday morning. Our original plan was to have Emma help us do yardwork but it softened our hearts that Mark was so proud of his play he wanted to show it off to Emma and so proud of his sister he wanted to show her off to his friends.
Later that afternoon, they were back from the school and we were doing errands. We stopped at WinCo for steak like we do. It was time to go so I texted them to see where they'd wandered off to.
Surprisingly, there are typos. From Emma. It's surprising when there are no typos from Mark. He spells like Braeden. So wobbly.
Adam bought them the hammock. It was $8. An $8 WinCo hammock. Sounds...promising.