Back in early March, my two boys, Owen and Rye, were doing the typical sibling stuff. You know, sharing backseat snacks and squabbling over whose turn it was to set the table.

Then quarantine-life hit and everything on Earth, down to their relationship changed. My deep-thinking, 10-year-old, brunette Owen and vivacious, 6-year-old, towhead Rye began experiencing life distilled: basic meals, an open schedule, zero destinations. “Make your own fun” emerged early on as their survival mantra.

By the time school ended, being home-schooled and homebound for months, I saw something profoundly different when I looked at my two very different boys. I saw brothers who had metamorphosed into buddies.

Imagination drove their day whereas productivity drove mine. One afternoon, just as I finished yet another conference call, I found them making “poker chip stew,” which evidently is a lively, new hands-on math game. When I was busy writing a new course syllabus, they were creating an elaborate Lincoln Log battlefield or foraging for Fiddlehead ferns to use for potions.

These kids couldn’t have been happier when my husband and I announced our need for a weekly date night. When we would watch a movie in the basement, they would catch a kid flick upstairs while taking down ice cream sundaes. The next morning, we often found them asleep in Rye’s bed, Owen’s arm outstretched across Rye.

During home-school, Rye would jump in to help Owen by holding up puppets for a movie his brother’s class was making. Owen became Rye’s engineering teacher, attending related Zooms and helping him build contraptions according to weekly themes. Once, while studying gears, Owen led the way, using parts from broken bicycles to build a Go Kart (with dad’s help).

Another day, Owen’s fourth grade teacher hosted a Zoom scavenger hunt. When the teacher instructed students to, “Grab something that makes you happy,” Owen was the first student to return. He had run for his little brother, carrying him sideways and showing him off in front of the camera.

When a new first grade teacher tried to get to know Rye by asking him about his favorite thing to do, Rye answered, “Play with my brother.”

Life in lockdown allowed the kids’ relationship to reach new heights as they had to rely on each other as sole allies. Despite the expected sibling skirmishes over who scammed whom while trading Pokemon cards, Owen and Rye became each other’s comfort and more. A quarantine buddy is a rare gem forged over time.

Sometimes, I daydream about the future. Maybe Owen will give a sweet toast at Rye’s wedding or they will share an apartment in Boston in their 20s. Then I catch myself, remembering it’s now more apparent than ever that we have no clue what the future brings. So I do the only thing that I can: arrive here, where I can witness my boys’ universe expand and their bond deepen in this unique moment in time.

Moira Convey Silva is a writer and writing instructor who lives in West Tisbury.