Saturday, April 21, 2012

The (Sometimes Unwanted) Gift Of Siblings

No, Steven, I'm not talking about you. 
This is an approximation of the speech I gave not 20 minutes ago out on  my deck, to my children.

When I had my first child, I was delighted.  I was a MAMA!  Then, a few years later, I was getting ready for my second.  I was so happy that I'd be able to give a fantastic gift to my oldest:  a sibling.

Siblings -- not too far apart in age -- can be the best friend you need when you're growing up.  Nobody else will have grown up with the same parents, the same dogs, the same house with the funny noises at night.  Nobody on the planet except your sibling.  Nobody on the face of this big old planet will know you and love you quite like the person who saw you go through puberty, or learn to swim, or go to the hospital when the grill fell over and pierced your thigh.

And right now, it's a gift that's being wasted.  You are wasting it.  I spent an hour weeding the garden. The chorus of "you can't make me" and "you're lying!" and "don't touch me!" was in the background nearly the entire time.  Then, when I came in to wash the kitchen floor, I asked that you work together to gather the weeds and toss them in the compost.  I was met with stomping and whining and mewling and then? You started on each other.  Tattling.  Irritating.  Pestering.

I am here to tell you that enough is enough. I had the two of you not only so I could have children, but so you two could be friends.  So you would know what I knew growing up:  that there's someone out there on your side all the time.  Ok -- not ALL the time, but mostly.  Someone who you can roll your eyes at when mom and dad do something irrational (to your pubescent minds).  Someone who -- eventually -- can tell you whether or not the guy you're dating is a jerk.  Or if maybe the mustache isn't the best idea.

So, go.  Go work it out. Together. Look long and hard at yourself before you blame the other.  I'm not going to be around either of you until I can be around BOTH of you. 


Steven Knoerr said...

You are SO talking about me. The falling-on-the-grill episode? Mine. The frequent advice to break up with boyfriends? MINE. The going through puberty? Unfortunately, also mine.

Kate said...

Ok fine. That _was_ about you. But... the nice stuff? Totally not about you. said...

There are five of us--the three oldest and then Patrick and I years later. We played together as little kids, then disliked each other (just as in your description, and worse) until all of us were adults. Now, we are all each other's biggest fans and are all on the same cool team. I'm so lucky!

My two youngest have always been very close but my older daughter, for unknown reasons, has separated herself and only tolerates them, which hurts this mother's heart. Not as bad as some families and things could change, but still. The phrase "'til death do us part" is more suited for siblings, don't you think?

Don't give up--yours are still pretty young.

Jessie said...

I still hope that someday my little sister and I will get along better. I barely tolerated her growing up and still have such a problem understanding her. It doesn't help that I've always been the consumate mother and STILL try to boss her around. Oi. We'll get there someday, but it does make me think twice before giving my little one a sib.