So today was a day filled by moments with children, both good and bad. I love kids. Passionately. Possibly entirely too much to be male. I think they remind me of everything I love about the world and the days when I felt so much love that I wanted to fix all the world's issues (yeah, every one of them) and refused to be dissuaded by the fact that that was not actually possible. Honestly, it doesn't really matter why I love kids, the point is that I do.
General synopsis of the day: Trip to Waterworld (water-themed amusement park) with Brandon and his family. His mom, grandma, godsister, younger brother and twin were all in attendance.
Necessary Background Info: Brandon's twin brother, Justin, and I have a relationship that could be described at tumultuous and tense at best—downright ridiculous at worst. Kid has some misplaced anger issues among other things and really lashes out in fits of rage from time to time. He and I fall out approximately every 6 months and right now we're on a good stretch. We're probably doing well because I decided not to be bothered with him more than I have to and to just accept that he and I really just have different ways of seeing life, masculinity, and pretty much anything of importance. Their kid brother DJ is like 10 or 11 and huge for his age, which makes sense seeing as Brandon and Justin are both bigger than me and DJ's dad is mammoth.
As things relate to kids
Experience set #1: While Brandon and I were waiting for his mom and grandma to get back to the house so we could leave, we were chillin with Justin & DJ. DJ is a little kid, thus very annoying to his brothers. On top of that he's always working to prove his mettle with his older bigger brothers. Probably unnecessary since Justin treats him like a really annoying grown-ass-man. Long-2-short, DJ told Justin to shut up, Justin took hella offense behind it, dared him to approach him and do it again. DJ, being a full foot shorter, 80 pounds lighter, and pretty smart for his age, did no such thing; instead, he yelled at Justin to shut up then ran out of the house. When he walked back in, some words were exchanged and Justin punched his brother in the chest and kicked him knocking him to the ground— mind you, DJ is a full 10 years Justin's junior. I was shocked and appalled, but DJ is (unfortunately) pretty used to this shit so he popped up and walked back outside. A couple minutes later he walked into the house, approached Justin and spit on him. I don't blame him for what he did, but it had some heavy implications. If you can't imagine what these might be, see the section titled "Relevant Background Info." Justin ran past Brandon and I (I almost stopped him, but decided against it since I was pretty sure that doing so would have led to me having to fight Justin—seriously, if you don't know the history on that call me and I'll fill you in) and started chasing DJ into the street. Brandon yelled when DJ started to run towards the street, but aside from that, no one made any moves to stop Justin. Brandon and I even chuckled at the fact that DJ was outrunning Justin. Their mom and grandmother asked us what happened and shook their heads as we talked about how Justin was prone to overreacting or being excessively physical. Still, it took a few seconds of them being out of sight before Brandon and I decided that we should check. By the time we started to move Justin was walking DJ back in a brotherly embrace... oh, nope, that's a headlock. And they're still 30 feet away, but I can hear DJ struggling to breath as his feet float effortlessly over the ground. Now the uproar starts, Justin goes in the house to finish getting ready and we all head off to Waterworld like NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENED! Actually, we made a conscious decision to let it go because, according to their grandmother, "We know how Justin gets."
Now, I'm trying to maintain peace but I really can't stand the sight of Justin waililng on DJ like a playmate his own age. Justin rode up with Brandon and I and started to talk about how crazy DJ was for spitting on him, but Brandon shut that down. I stayed out of it. Like I said, that's how I maintain the peace with Justin.
Anyway we got to the park, and we'd been there a little while. Of course, DJ eventually said something to irk Justin, who proceeded to walk over to the kid and grab the back of his neck. Again, everyone's there. At this point, I was thinking that I really couldn't stand to see this boy get manhandled again, so I walked over, grabbed Justin's hand and told DJ to get lower so he could get out of Justin's reach. Justin let go, and nothing more happened... well, actually, DJ stormed off mad (understandably) and was running from me when I tried to talk to him. Eventually, when I got him to communicate and use his words, I found out he wanted to hop in the lazy river. So Brandon and I went with him and I tried to tell him not to provoke his older brother. I thought the reasons were obvious and pretty compelling, but I have about 8 more years of dealing with Justin than DJ.
In short, experience #1 was not fun. Honestly, it made me realize that I don't know what to make of Justin or how to deal with him or reason with him. But damn, I really can't keep appeasing him like that. Just ain't me, or at least it just ain't the me I want to be.
Experience #2:Still at the waterpark, though at this point it's just me and Brandon running around. We were heading towards a ride and there was basically no line. We're casually sauntering towards the line when we hear a bunch of little kids running behind us trying to get to the top. We decide to clothesline them if they try to cut us (ride lines are no joke). One of them tried to get by me and said "Don't worry, we aren't trying to cut you." His friend ran past us both, screaming, "But I am!" So after I won the footrace up the stairs (longer strides make many things possible), the kid who admitted his intentions looked at Brandon and me and tried to educate us on how things go. He told us smugly, "I know how to cut straight to the front of the line—you just pretend like you're hurt." We both looked at him and laughed until he excused himself clear to the front of the line; at this point, we just started laughing harder and occasionally breaking from our laughter long enough to point out that "this kid is a thug." His two friends just stayed in their place at the back of the line waiting for Little Mr. Audacious (henceforth referred to as LMA) to get into trouble. LMA was just chillin at the top of the stairs though, pleading with his friends to come join him, and one eventually did just that. The other, whose name was Matthew, refused. Not only did he refuse, he tried to talk his friends back into the line. And he was adamant and wouldn't join them even when it became clear that no one cared and no one would get in trouble for the ordeal. They called him a whole bunch of names and taunted him for being "a pussy" (when did 12 year olds start calling each other that?!) When he realized they weren't coming back down, he just shrugged them off by stating loudly, "I don't know who they talking to. My name's not Matthew; it's Jeremiah." Brandon and I were astonished. We told Matthew how great he was for doing what he believed (and how his way would make sure he never came up with a criminal record). His friends eventually left him, but B and I left Matthew ride with us. It was kinda my honor actually. Funniest thing, when we got to the bottom, LMA was still waiting for Matthew at the bottom. At least he's a pretty good friend.
Long-2-short: Two kids I admire to day. One who'll probably grab life by the balls and have it bowing out to him and doing whatever he needs it to; he'll probably bring a few people along for the ride. Hopefully he learns to help people rather than just do whatever selfish things he wants. Another, more admirable, who showed me exactly what it means to have conviction and do what's right, for no reason other than the sake of it being right. Hopefully he can rub off on LMA and help keep him in check.
Experience #3: While in the grocery store today, I passed by 2 carts which had toddlers in them. They found me to be very amusing. I made faces at them and played peekaboo. I will happily forfeit whatever thug/masculinity points I need to for enjoying that so much. But, like I said, I love kids.