My son is 16 now and given the choice would rather put on a pair of Rayban sunglasses, separate from the family and blend in with nearby strangers than be caught hanging out with us out in public. Us being Dad, Sister, and me. And that’s okay, I completely remember being embarrassed to go certain places with my family. In all our struggles to become a family I never really worried about “what to expect” with regards to the child – patient relationship. The sibling relationship was a different story, though. I can clearly remember the day a few years ago that I realized that everything was okay in that relationship too…
I am an only child and before my kids I had no insight whatsoever into sibling rivalry. After being subjected to Drew and Sari’s nonstop bickering I foolishly decided that brothers and sisters at that age just don’t like each other. I reminded them that family is to be treasured and that they need to look out for one another. I resigned to waiting it out until they figured it out. Until I found the note.
One day after the kids went to school I was cleaning Drew’s bedroom and I found some dollars on the floor. When I picked up his clear acrylic bank I saw a torn piece of notebook paper folded neatly and stuffed down the slot. Like any good Mother I popped out the rubber stopper and retrieved the paper. It said, “Don’t tell anybody but I really do love my sister. She is pretty cool.”
My heart was warmed! Drew had always blamed Sari for their situation because it was after her birth that they were removed from their biological home when he was 5 and put into the foster care system. I worried that his aggression toward her went beyond sibling rivalry and into someplace deep and sad. It may have in the beginning and may resurface in the future, but here was hope that he really did cherish her.
Not sure what the proper thing to do was, I shared with Drew that I read his note. I feel it is my job to snoop and be aware of everything in my kid’s lives, I don’t feel bad about that, but I thought I should let him know. I asked him if it was true that he was developing a soft spot for her. Unsure of what to expect, I was surprised and a little tickled when he said, “Yeah, it’s true Ma. You know, she’s just a little kid still. She doesn’t know how dumb she is.”
That was just about the sweetest thing I had ever heard. Do you remember how old you were before you stopped detesting your sibling?