Sibling Revelry

dreamstime_3975701To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.
~Clara Ortega
This summer my children have been spending more time together. As their time together has increased there has also been proportionally more teasing, laughing, fighting, whining, joking, playing, and working together—in that order. Some days are definitely better than others; some are much worse and, on occasion, there is the day that is so bad that I wonder if my kids even know how to utter a kind word. It is at the close of these dark days that I lay in bed at night, mulling the whole thing over and considering how I could teach them to be kinder to each other.
Recently while pondering the events of a particularly hard day, I started thinking of my own childhood and my siblings. I have three brothers, one older and two younger. My mother had all of her children on a regular pattern of 2-3 years apart, so we are all fairly close in age. Looking back, as siblings we had our share of struggles and tussles. There was laughter, but there were also a lot of tears. We are of Scottish descent, and I am sure there were times when my mother thought she was raising a pack of warriors. But amidst all of the rough and tumble of growing up, there WAS laughter, and forgiveness and adventure and working together.
As I lay awake at night thinking of how I can teach them and praying for a solution or resolution, I must recognize that sometimes the answer lies with them. This is something that, try as I might, I cannot give them. I will teach, model and reinforce appropriate behavior, and after all that work and effort they will learn from each other. They will learn boundaries. They will learn to ask for forgiveness. They will gain a sense of humor. They will learn patience (and so, probably, will their mother, because this is an incredibly long process). In short, they will learn that living with those that we love is not perfect, but that it is so much better if we work to make it easier rather than harder.
And, until that process shakes itself out, I am a firm believer in after lunch quiet time where each child goes to a separate room with a quiet activity for one hour, no exceptions. Obtaining patience is a virtue, maintaining my sanity is priceless..


Comments

  1. Beautiful post Kendra! I’m glad I’m not the only one laying awake at night thinking about this! Sometimes I wish we were still in the days when we could send them out in the morning and only let them in for lunch and dinner! It is such a process for us, too, having three girls!

    We try to also schedule one-on-one time with each child each week, although it’s hard! Even a walk down the street helps sometimes.