When Siblings Become Friends

A couple of nights ago, Christopher pulled out Maria’s first tooth. It has been wiggly for several weeks now, and when she came out of her room after bedtime complaining that her tooth hurt, Christopher said matter-of-factly, “I’ll pull it out for you, Maria, but I’m not going to stop until it’s out. Even if it hurts a little bit, I’m going to get it out for you, okay?” And then he did what my husband and I have been trying to do for over a week: he got a paper towel and pulled out her first tooth. Maria let out a squeal of delight and gave her brother a big hug. “Thank you so much,” she gasped. “You’re welcome, Maria, you were very brave,” he responded. My heart just about melted.

You see, it hasn’t always been this way between my two oldest kids, who are boy-girl and three-and-a-half years apart in age. There were times when I worried that they would never be friends, that they would never have anything in common, and that they would never enjoy each other’s company. There was a special period of a few months when Maria was a sweet baby, and 3 year-old Christopher just loved holding his new baby sister and making her laugh. As soon as she became an opinionated baby who cried a lot and stole his toys, however, things went downhill and stayed that way for a little while.

Recently, however, I have witnessed many other moments of shared fun, and it makes me so happy to know that they are enjoying the blessing of sibling friendship. They are joking with each other, playing Pokemon, catching worms, and building with Legos. A couple of months ago, when Maria first started school, she told us at the dinner table that she knew who she was going to marry. “Pete,” she said matter-of-factly, “he’s the one.” Christopher responded, “Maria, don’t you want to meet some other people first?” To which she said, “No, I’m good.” We couldn’t stop laughing.

Sibling friendship has come much more easily to Maria and Caroline, I think because they are both girls and they are only a little over two years apart in age (5 and 3). They fight like normal siblings, but they also have lots of fun playing and imagining together. They share a bedroom, have many shared interests, enjoy the same friends, and can even wear some of the same clothes! And, for better or worse, Caroline really just wants to do whatever Maria is doing, so she is happy as long as she can tag along. It has been interesting to watch the dynamic between the three siblings, too – at different points I have noticed that two will gang up on the third, which never turns out well, and other times they all have a lot of fun together. I’m still trying to figure out the right balance between letting the kids work things out between themselves and stepping in to help them sort out their fights – I tend to go with the former a bit too often, I think, and things can get out of hand. Oh well, someday I will figure it all out and then they will be off to college :)

So, here’s to sibling friendship, with all of its ups and downs. Mary, Queen of Families, pray for us!

 

  • Juris Mater

    This is awesome! (And congrats to Maria on this milestone!!) I also struggle with the balance between intervention and letting things sort themselves out. Life with siblings is THE BEST school of thoughtfulness and patience for our kids, isn’t it?

  • Kellie “Red”

    I think sibling relationships are so undervalued in our society today. Even all the parenting advice books are about what the parents are giving to their kids, not about how siblings can teach/give so much. We are raising a family, not just a bunch of individuals. Your post highlights that there are so many unseen blessings with having your hands full with several little ones at once! Thanks for highlighting that.

  • Bethany “B-mama”

    I love that Christopher pulled out Maria’s tooth. We might have to employ that kind of dentistry at our house! So sweet. Love hearing these stories. I, too, struggle with balance between intervening during fights and letting them work it out. In the end, I default to letting them resolve as much as possible… Works in progress, we are!


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