I once met a woman who was sending her children off to University after having homeschooled all three of them for the entirety of their school-age days. Of all of the accomplishments they had made together, she was most proud of the relationship her three children had formed. She spoke of how her son’s acceptance to Queens prompted her children to cry. All three of them. They were happy to be moving forward, but they were saddened by the thought of not being together. She spoke about how she doesn’t share this story with just anyone, since the majority of people would think this reaction to be strange, but what is truly mystifying, she said, is that people expect the sibling relationship to be one of contention, that children should grow up to be closer to their peers rather than have their peers be their siblings. What she noticed about her kids, is that when in the midst of a conflict, there was nowhere to run; therefore, they learned to deal with the issue at hand. They learned to stand up to each other and for each other, and they became to be the best of friends. I think of this story often, as I watch my children play and argue and play and argue. There are times when my presence is required, when they need an adult coaching their relationship. Sometimes I help to identify emotions or recall moments from the past in order for them to engage with the present, but there are more times when I need to step back and observe in my quiet mommy way (not always an easy feat). Sometimes it’s not up to me to kick Lil E out of the comfy chair because he stole it from WildFlower. It has to be up to them. Of course, I don’t ignore the situation at hand, but I have several mom-type sayings in my apron pocket to whip out at the emergence of a squabble. You know why don’t you tell him how that made you feel? (something we should be doing more of as adults, despite it being cliché).
I love to watch them working side by side, each working on something different, but supporting each other along the way. Normally this ‘support’ role is taken on by Wild Flower, and sure sometimes can be translated into ‘bossy’, but that’s an entirely different post.
And then there is the relationship they share with their big brother. To them, he’s half-grown up, half kid. The best combo,really, because although he can give out instructions similar to ours, he can also welcome them into his room to pound on the drums or jump on the bed. I can’t wait to see their friendships unfold. I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise each of them.
When Lil Eagle was first born, Wildflower told everyone “this is my little brother. We are going to grow up together”. Every now and again we talk about what it will be like when each of our kiddos venture into the big world. What will they do? Who will they be? We tell ‘what if’ stories. Big Brother’s what-ifs tend to revolve around Porsches and lottery winnings, while Wild Flower’s dreams are related to having one hundred babies, a dream I expect to change in the near future. My favourite stories of all are the ones where we talk about having everyone come home. I hope to have a busy house, even if it involves occasional college laundry. I hope to send them off with home cooked meals and treats in hopes that they will come home a little more often. I dream of grand babies and full-house holiday gatherings. Ahhh the ‘what ifs’. They keep us dreaming, and the dreaming keeps us going.