National Sibling Day
The other night after dinner we called my brother’s home to sing happy birthday to my niece on her first birthday. My sister-in-law pointed out that it was also my nephew’s one year anniversary of being a big brother. With dimples shining, my four year old son leaned over and whispered, “I want to be a big brother.”
Um, nothin’ doin’, my friend.
That ship has sailed, the port has been closed, no sailors allowed here!
Even though my son will never be a big brother, his role as little brother to my daughter is priceless. They’ve always gotten along well, but now at seven years old and nearly five, they are relating to one another in an almost magical way. They whisper secrets, scheme against their parents (yes, even that is fun to watch), read books to each other at night taking turns from page to page, and experience family outings as a team.
When I watch them, I see my own brother and me at the same age. Even if we were fighting with each other, we were always a united force against the world. When trying to recall specific experiences from our childhood, I love that there is someone else I can call to fact check or just share a memory with. I often call my older brother just to ask, “Hey, when we were kids, did we really…?”
Transitioning from only child to older sibling of course is not without incidence. When my son was a few weeks old, I turned to my husband and said, “I can’t believe I did this to my best friend!” My daughter immediately loved her new baby brother, but she was certainly not happy with me for upsetting her world. By the time she had finally forgiven me, she had reason to not like him. As soon as he was able to crawl, he made her his target, especially her long hair. With uncanny aim, he could reach up from the floor, grab her hair, and pull her to her knees. It took years to teach him that her hair was off limits, and I still find myself yelling, “Noah, no touching Emma!” as he makes his presence known with little pushes and pokes.
While my kids have certainly experienced growing pains as they’ve fallen in and out of like with each other, there is nothing like having a sibling, someone with whom you can share your childhood, and someone to whom you can turn as an adult for support or even just to reflect.