I don’t remember ever not having a sibling. I’m the second of three. I do remember being made to dress the same as my older sister, having to share everything with her, having to go second when picking a treat. She was the constant presence I always had to consider, whether it was because she always had a cold so we couldn’t turn the AC on, or worry that she would tell on me for doing something wrong.
There is a very unique and dynamic relationship between siblings and you can never know which way it will go. Many parents try to prep their older children for life with younger ones, but, it’s still a wild card. You never really know. I remember when my second niece was born. The hospital actually had a program which gave the older siblings a cake upon the birth of their new sibling to ward off any jealousy. ‘Sib-eh-ling cake’ as my 3 year old niece called it. I don’t think it was necessary cos she loved her sister nonetheless but hey, we all ate and enjoyed the cake! In my case, my sister was oh so happy to have a younger sister. She wanted to love on me and take care about her of me. Jealousy never even crossed her mind. She always looked out for me. My pain was her pain even at a tender age! My response? I took it for granted that she cared so much about me. But how old was I? Lol. I grew out of it though. My younger brother came much later and I pretty much adopted him as my child. Lol
Fast forward to now. Watching with curiosity and a bit of trepidation (as I can imagine lots of parents do) as my little children interact with each other. My first child is so happy to have a sibling!! Even though they are months apart, it’s someone to play with, to entertain, to try to lift her into her own lap, to give hugs, to stroke her head as she says “sorry” to her, to learn the limits of her own strengths and how to be gentle as she pulls and squeezes her little sisters hand. My heart fills with joy at her excitement whenever she sights her. Big sis could be bawling but when her little sister is brought to her attention, her tear streaked face brightens and her attention moves to just being present with her sister (even before she wipes her tears off!).
That’s not even the best part. What is her little sisters response? She is all squeals, gurgles and smiles once she hears her sisters voice! She watches her big sister, eyes bright, mouth wide with awe and admiration, her curious and amused eyes trail her around the room. If she could get up and follow her, she would! She loves it when her big sister leans in for a kiss or a cuddle. They love each other. I’m so glad they get along.
But this love and friendship was not borne out of any unusual thing I did. I can’t say that it was due to the spacing of their births, or any efforts on my part to give each attention, or even any sibling cake! It just happened. And it might change tomorrow for better or worse, but I’ll be encouraging and praying for better.
Years have gone by and the memories of my sister and I are still there. But now I remember my sister and I twinning constantly, sharing everything from a bed, to packs of Go-go and bubblegum, to our problems and successes, defending each other from punishments, and reciprocal consideration like no other! Siblings are everything. So don’t stress. Regardless of how they relate, they share a bond second only to that of a parent and their child. Yes, you can and should try to prod here and nudge there, but all in all, your children will relate as they will, and it will be just fine.