I am completely in love with Jack and Grace. And it brings such joy to my heart to see them falling in love with each other. They are finally at the stage where they interact and play together. I love watching them create pretend worlds and fight over toys. Just like with any relationship their sibling love swings on a pendulum from infatuation to disgust. One minute they are snuggling on the couch and the next they are both screaming and throwing punches. Regardless Grace is eager to to be just like Jack. Jumping off the couch head first? Sure! Jack is doing it so it must be fun.
I am lucky to have a good relationship with my brother. It is one of the things I value as an adult. Interestingly, I feel absolutely no competitiveness with him. Anytime he is successful I am nothing but genuinely happy for him. I believe our relationship is solid because we were in the trenches together. We learned to work together and be a team at an early age and that has carried us into adulthood. As children in a low income family we were often left alone without a babysitter. Even at age 4 and 5 we would be left for 20 minutes late in the night between the time my dad left for his third shift job and my mom arrived home from her second shift job. I would sneak over to the window scared to death of being alone in the beaten-down trailer park. My brother would pop his head up from the twin bed we shared and tell me to close the curtain and get back in bed. We were each other's playmate and security.
I believe now is when the foundation for Jack and Grace's adult relationship is formed. It is my hope that I will not screw it up. I want Jack and Grace to be best friends. To share a love and bond that will carry them through life. And I see it as my job to encourage that relationship. I don't ever want either child to hear me say "why don't you do such-n-such like your brother/sister." I have also heard parents say that they love their children the same amount but in different ways. For me this doesn't fit either. I love them exactly the same. In that jump in front of a bullet, go to the end of the earth, give you my last bite of chocolate cake kind of love. And in truth if I raise them up and they don't end up friends, I will know it is a failure on my part.
Recently I was talking with my good friend Jen about how parents impact sibling relationships and she shared some valuable wisdom from her mother. Jen told me how anytime she has trouble with her sisters, her mother willingly listens. However, her mother refuses to say anything negative about her sisters. Her only comment being, "she is my baby too." As in, I love you and I love your sisters and I will not involve myself in gossip or negative talk about my kids. This was wonderful to hear as a mother of young children. A golden lesson about cultivating a loving relationship with and between children.
Not only is this advice applicable to my sweet babies but relates to any relationship I value. It is easy to be critical, to point out the negative in other people's character or actions. It takes discipline and maturity to keep your mouth shut. A lesson I have learned many times over the years.
I hope to apply Jen's mom's philosophy as my children grow. Not only will it strengthen their relationship with each other but they will have faith in me that I have their best interests at heart. After all if I am willing to say negative things about their sibling why would they ever trust me not to say bad things about them.
I am so excited to watch my sweet babies grow and form their relationship. To watch them discover the world together. To see how they help and hurt each other. To watch as this relationship teaches them to resolve conflict, to fight, to share and to love.