“MOM!” comes a screech wafting up the stairs, “Lauren is hurting my feelings!”
“Mom, Lauren stole my owl Squinky.”
“M–O—M–this is not a tattle…Lauren just kicked me.”
Not wanting her to feel neglected in any way when her new baby sis arrived, I wrapped up a brand new Jessie doll months before my due date to give to her on her baby sister’s birthday. The day little Lauren arrived,
Brianne was thrilled to meet her and give her the”fuzzy wuzzy” blankie she had picked out just for her baby sis. Brianne carried her new Jessie doll around everywhere, and slept with her every night. She still has a proud spot on her bed every night. Little did she know, that the saga of sisterhood that began that day would continue for the rest of her life.
Excited to show Lauren everything, but always having to wait for her to catch up, just by being a big sister Brianne has become compassionate and patient. As her sister has grown, she’s been able to play with her more and more. And over the years, her baby sister has learned how to reach her…crawl over to steal her toy, run over to whack her, learn to tell her to go away, out-negotiate her and sneak into her room when she’s at school.
Every step of the way, Brianne has had growing pains of adjustment that only another big sister could ever relate to. The built-in friendship, and daily companionship, that my two girls share is truly a joy to watch. (Sometimes more of a joy for me and not so much for them…ha ha.) Sisters learn from the start what a true friendship is. They are stuck with each other, everyday, all the time, whether they like it or not. They see the bad and the good characteristics of each other. Share in joys and heartaches as they grow up. They learn to compromise and commiserate. Teach each other and comfort each other. Defend each other….and throw each other under the bus.
The youngest gets away with much, much, much more than the oldest could ever dream of. And, for some reason, my youngest child seems automatically wired to take it up a notch. She comes up with stuff that hasn’t even crossed her older sister’s mind yet. (In perfect “Lo” timing…she just waltzed up to me halfway through an apple she snuck from the fridge and said with a look of pure disdain, “Mom, you know the computer bothers me….” I mean, seriously?)
Growing up the oldest sibling, I experienced it all first hand. Watching it from a parent’s perspective is a juggle between wanting to laugh out loud and feeling such sympathy for my oldest. I would have grounded Brianne from TV for a month for that…if she would have been bold enough to say that…which she never would have been. Poor thing was probably grounded from TV for a month for getting goldfish crumbs all over the family room. I WISH her little sister would occupy her mind with such schemes.
Through every stage, there’s point where Brianne will look at me with the “I-can’t-believe-she’s-not-getting-in-trouble-for-that” look. It must feel so unfair, but to be truthful, little Lo just wears me out. This is a child that ditches the end of her snack randomly throughout the house. It’s not uncommon for me to get a popsicle stick stuck to my sock, find gum on the carpet, apple cores rotting in the playroom, fortified orange slices in the car…and half finished glasses of water everywhere. Poor Brianne just wants an answer for the goldfish crumbs. I just want an answer as to why on earth her little sister would rub ice cubes on her feet and then decide to eat them….
For the little sister, life seems so unfair at times, too. Watching her big sister go off to school, play dates, and birthday parties without her brings big…fat…crocodile tears…almost every time. Lauren wants to read and write like her sissy does, and becomes extremely frustrated at times that she can’t do all of the things that Brianne does. That bit of rivalry explodes sometimes, and the slapping and screaming fills the house. I try to carry “school rules” over to “house rules” whenever possible, and my favorite is the “no tattling” rule. Thank you, teachers, for making it easier for my children to follow this rule at home. Without you, they just look at me as if I’m insane to suggest such a horrid thing.
“Unless someone is hurt or bleeding, go work it out with your sister,” I”ll say.
They always act like it’s a crushing blow to their little lives…but they work it out, every time.
My older daughter, Brianne, takes the drama up to such a high volume that I have to sort of “tattle-check” her, too.
“I’m sorry, did someone just die? Did our house just burn down? Did you break your arm?” I’ll ask.
Oh, how I wish there words to describe her look as she said, “No.”
“Ok, then…calm down and save that reaction for one of those times.”
Her little sister hasn’t matched her in drama yet, but has extended her favorite method of protesting…stomping her feet throughout the house, pumping her arms, and letting out a big “Heeeeehhhhhhh!”
It amazes me, no matter what kind of tiff they may have gotten in the day before, or in the morning, how genuinely happy they are to see each other after school.
“Bri Bri!!!!” Little Lo will squeal with delight when her sister hops in the car. And, up they will go to their rooms to play as soon as they get home. They have so many little adventures together…with and without me around. Having a sister so close in age really is like having a built-in best friend right in your family…that sleeps over every night. I pulled this out of Brianne’s folder one day…
They will turn seven and five this year. Time is going by too fast for me, and it forms a lump in my throat to imagine them both being in school all day next year. Brianne and Lauren, however, are thrilled about it, and can’t wait to high-five each other in the hallways. Meanwhile, I know I’ll be a lump of tears when they both hop out of the car in the fall.
As I reflect on my own siblings and family, I cannot even bear to envision life where both of my girls don’t live under the same roof. When I can’t hear them playing with Barbie and Katanya (Lo’s favorite…), dressing their dolls up to eat in the cafe, or lining their stuffed animals up to watch “the show.” I realize there will be a day when there won’t be any begging to watch another Barbie movie (which I eventually will be sad about!), or the 700th run of Frozen as they dance through the family room singing in capes. I love these days, and I love my little girls.
In light of all Lauren’s mischief and Brianne’s drama, most of our days are full of pure joy. Every day that they bounce into my room in the morning to cuddle with me before school is a blessing I will never stop being thankful of. I pray that they will cherish each other and the friendship being forged by this saga of sisterhood for rest of their lives, just like I do them.