Brothers, sisters and other miracles

kids in bch chair

My two little ones are entering the war zone.  Which is notable only because I have been incredibly lucky in the fact that the Princess took to being a big sister like she was born to do it and the Superhero loved being her playmate.

Until recently.

And it’s easy to point directly to the reason.

Like her mother, my daughter is assertive (some would say bossy – I say fukc you).  And my son is getting to the point where he would like to make the rules himself.  sometimes.  okay, maybe once?

And he has started name calling.  And he has found her buttons.  And he pushes stomps on them regularly and with great relish.  He also has this killer smile that lets you know he has just done something wrong and he is hoping you will find him cute enought to forget about it.  And he is cute.

but not that cute.

So all this sibling rivalry has done two things.

1. It has driven me NUTS.

b. And it has made me reflect in the siblings in my life. Particularly my sibling.   And our rivalry.  And my husband and his sibling. And their rivalry.

I don’t remember ever being my brother’s best friend.

I do remember wanting desperately for him to be my best friend, but he was always older, and I was always too little.  I made a great minion.  Not a good friend.

But we were friends.  I know we were.  We played games, sang songs, built forts.  All that stuff.  And yet, somehow we were never very close.  We never confided in each other.  We never got into trouble together.

At least not in my memory.  I am about to go visit my folks and I will have to ask my mom how she remembers it but for me, we fought a lot, tolerated each other most of the time, defended each other against any intruder, and lived separate lives.   For the most part.


My husband was born just a few days more than a year after his sister.  If that’s too confusing – they were Irish twins.  And all reports are that they were close.  That they remained close their whole lives.  They seemed to have some shared experiences that bonded them in  a way that made separate lives impossible.  Even if that was what they had wanted.  And I don’t think either of them did.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not romantizing their relationship.  Which is easy to do when one part of this equation is dead.

My SIL suffered from bi-polar manic depression.  She was not an easy person to have in your life.  Their childhood was flawed and left them both with both figurative and literal scars.  There were some things they just never talked about.  Never.  And they will never get the chance.  But they were close, even to the bitter end.

And she was part of our lives as a couple, so that we both feel her loss, even now.

So I think about some friends of mine, twins, who did not speak to each other for more than two years because of a golf tournament.

And I wonder about my father’s brothers and where their relationship will end up now that their mom, the only thing they had left in common, is gone.

And I wonder about my uncle who never came to visit us again after my mother once told him where the coffee pot was instead of pouring his cup for him.

And I wonder.

How can I help these two little souls stay connected?


3 thoughts on “Brothers, sisters and other miracles

  1. I fret about the same thing all the time. Our oldest did not take naturally to the big sibling role. And the little one has a seemingly bottomless capacity for forgiveness for now, but I’m sure the endless jabs every day will wear on him at some point. When I try to get them to play on the same side of something instead of competing, it’s as though I’m speaking Yoruba to them. So we keep muddling through, hoping for the best.

  2. You just never know. They could annoy each other now, but become lifelong adult friends…It’s a crapshoot, really.

  3. You know, my parents both have a ton of siblings (thank you, Catholics! Every sperm is sacred!) and barely talk to any of them. I mean, they call each other once in a while. My dad never, ever calls his sibs…

    My sibs and I, however, range in age from 28-43. And we are very close. Like, my sisters and I are inseparable. I live three blocks from two of my brothers (who live together!). We watch each others kids. And dogs. Ok, I do most of the watching. But STILL! I meet my brother weekly for breakfast. We are very close.

    I don’t know how to make it better. But I can tell you that we had our share of knock-’em-out, drag-’em-out fights. We beat the crap out of each other. We did MEAN THINGS. We told on one another. We stole clothes for each other, lost things that didn’t belong to us and competed fiercely. And here we are. No matter how much we drive each other NUTSO, for some reason we keep coming back for more.

    Perhaps it was the koolaid…

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