And a chance to gloat. Here is a recent picture:
We don't have as many group photos anymore, owing to schedules and life and all. Still, they try to get together and spend time with the brothers and family when they can. This was obviously Christmas morning. It was also the waning days of Covid Era living. We would all get Covid over the next week or so. In fact, it's likely we had it then. But within a few weeks, it would be back to normal. They would all trim beards (except the youngest), get haircuts, and get back to life in a semi-normal way.
They do make us proud. I've gone on about why in other posts, so I won't repeat it all here. Our guess is that once our second oldest moves out after the wedding, barring catastrophic world events, the other two older brothers will quickly follow. Even if they believe it's smart to stay home and amass a fair savings, they will no doubt get the itch once their brother moves on. They've already said they will stagger moving out, to mitigate the impact on their youngest. But I'm sure they will move out in the not too distant once those wedding bells have tolled.
To be honest, with all the games or fun trips or special events we've experienced with them over the years, I'll miss the regular talks the most. We've been blessed by sons who actually seem to value talking with ol'mom and dad. At times it's just one son coming to us to talk, but it's often the team of them. Sometimes it's trivial: Discussing the evolution of the Star Wars franchise, or comparing Potter and Frodo, or musing on what made The Heiress or The Third Man such compelling films to the eyes of 21st Century teens weaned on endless Marvel movies.
Other times it's theology and religion, or history, or science, or current events. That's when the discussions can get pretty heated. Despite media attempts to the contrary, however, they never imagined differences in opinion should negate family relations. And for that, we're thankful. While we pray that we'll always continue to get together, the easy availability of fellowship and conversations we've had with the boys over the years will no doubt be a thing we will miss.
Nonetheless, here's to our sons on this National Sons Day. If we had nothing else in life but the boys, we'd consider ourselves abundantly blessed by God.