Our son Bryce received a scholarship yesterday for next fall. It wasn’t expected, so it was so awesome to see.It arrived by letter, snail mail style. As I opened it I was very happy for him, and called my husbands name to tell him. Standing in the kitchen, reading to Mark, he gave me the look we have become fluent in. The “someone can hear us” look. Our son Brett was listening to us. What was he thinking? Had I made him feel bad? I know he loves his twin, and all his brothers, but did he in that moment feel less than? And my heart sank a little bit.

We had promised to take Brett to a flea market. I had saved my tips from the salon, so my husband gave him some of it to spend as he wished there. We knew what it would be on, if he could find it. Video games, comic books, and candy.

Going to flea markets, stores, fairs, or anywhere in public with our son used to cause such panic and fear in me, in us. Positive he would wander off, get lost, or heaven forbid follow someone somewhere. But it has gotten better. A little bit.

When we arrived at the flea market, Brett made a quick exit from the car, and was on his way. We used to have to grip his hand so tight,struggling to keep him in our grasp. But now, we trust him, and we follow quietly and closely behind, making sure he doesn’t see us watching him. He scanned each booth quickly, weaving in and out on such a mission only he could understand.

My husband and I knew it wasn’t looking promising for him to find his treasures. However, at one point, I spotted him at a booth, money in hand. He struggles with math, and money skills, so wanting to make sure things were on the up and up, I quietly approached. “MOM”…..code word for, back off. I stopped, and he made his transaction, for a bag of taffy. We continued to walk away, when out of nowhere, Brett stopped and turned and dashed back. Convinced he had lost his wallet, I followed in hot pursuit, heart racing. He approached the booth, and reaching his hand in, grabbed his forgotten, almost empty Mountain Dew. I had to laugh at myself. I always assume the absolute worst in these situations.That someone had stolen his wallet, took the measly 30 bucks we had given  him and was already on a wonderful shopping spree at the flea market. But it was his soda. A dang soda.

Parenting four sons, on four totally different paths is such a balancing act. I felt so bad after going on and on about Bryce’s scholarship in front of his twin.Yet, I know, that the four of them are always beyond happy for each other and their success.And success is relative, right? I mean, just a few years ago, Brett would have had a major meltdown at the flea market, not finding what he wanted. Yesterday, as we were leaving the fairgrounds I apologized to him for it not being what he expected.” It’s okay mom.” That was a victory, that was success. And as usual, he taught me more than I could ever teach him.I can be happy, for each son, for each of their accomplishments,because none is greater or better than the next. Each step they make in the right direction, is a victory. Raise your Mountain Dew to that!