When we decided to have a second child, we weren’t sure what to expect. I remember being frightened when we found out Boy Child was on his way. I thought, “Can we handle this? Two? Or will I turn into a referee?” SubBro and I never fought too badly, but I had heard horror stories of siblings who hated one another growing up and have never managed to forge a decently healthy relationship with each other. It was one of my biggest fears as we welcomed our little boy to the family.
There has been plenty of refereeing since Boy Child arrived, but something has changed recently. Something beautiful.
They’re becoming friends.
Not just friendly. Actual friends. The kids went ice skating over Thanksgiving break, and Girl Child helped Boy Child along the entire time, watching out for him, assisting him when he fell, and really made sure he was doing well and having fun.
Over Christmas break, Girl Child woke up on a Saturday morning screaming because she realized that there was a giant spider right next to her head. She had a near panic attack. Can’t say I wouldn’t have, either. Boy rushed in, saying, “it’s ok! It’s ok! I’ll get the spider! Are you ok? I’ll get it!” And proceeded to comfort her for the next ten minutes. I ended up getting the spider.
Sidenote: if you knew me 15 years ago, you realize what a big deal it is for me to get the spider all by myself. Because SPIDER. Also? HUGE SPIDER.
Girl said recently, “My best friends are E, A, and my brother.”
Boy came home from school today with a book he made titled, “My Heroes.” Page one? Girl Child. He drew them holding hands. He wrote, “My sister is my hero because she plays with me.”
I’m not delusional enough to think that simply because we’re having a good stretch of getting along that this will continue indefinitely. I’m sure there is a healthy amount of refereeing my future. But there is something growing out of the fighting and the yelling and hurt feelings: love.
This fills me with hope. Because, as much as I dislike the the realization that I won’t see the entirety of their lives – I won’t be here to see them grow old – it comforts me to know that we have planted the seeds for them to be there for each other. It gives me peace to know that long after we aren’t there for them any more, they’ll have each other. Neither one will ever be truly alone in the world. Just like my brother and I, they have a shared experience in their childhood. That’s a powerful connection that can sustain them, even if they aren’t in physical proximity.