But they weren't!
I knocked on the sixteen-year-old's door, and the thirteen-year-old was in there. In a rowdy voice, the older one said, "Mom! He's being nice to me!"
The younger one: "I promise never to do it again, Mom!" They smiled at one another in a conspiratorial fashion.
Wouldn't it be great if things were like that all the time?
How well I recall a conversation between a young colleague and our then-glum four-year-old about my older son, who was already in first grade and lording his superior knowledge over the younger one. We were in a café, and the colleague sat with us, turned to our little one, said, "You know, I had brothers too."
"And the older ones tricked me and hit me all the time."
"You had brothers?" Brothers, at the time, must have seemed to our younger son alien beings who appeared capriciously at inopportune moments to torment him.
Smiling, our young colleague detailed the heinous crimes of his three older brothers ("I had three, remember that! You only have to deal with one!") but explained that now his brothers have become good friends. "When we all grew up, we became friends."
Our younger son gave him the fishy eye.
But now maybe my sons really will be friends. How nice that would be.