I have a daughter and a son.
Right now the bond between them is magical and I don’t want it to ever change.
Seems pretty reasonable to me.
My daughter came first. We didn’t know until she arrived if she was a boy or a girl and I don’t remember having my heart set either way. When I got pregnant again, we decided to find out and when the voice on the line told me it’s a boy!, I cried.
They were not happy tears.
“No,” I wanted to say. “Babies aren’t boys. Not anymore anyway. Babies are girls.”
I had it all worked out in my head and there was no room for a penis. I wanted my daughter to have a sibling and by “sibling,” I meant a sister.
We all have pre-conceived notions, sometimes rooted in our own childhood experience (and sometimes in spite of) about how things are supposed to go when we have kids.
Some are rules written by others into our subconscious, that we only become aware of when we enter a new stage of our life and there they are, screaming at us.
Like all kids are supposed to be exactly two years apart. That’s another one I screwed up.
And yet, against all odds (three years apart and the opposite sex) my kids are close. So close.
They hold hands all the time, even while they are sleeping. They sing songs about how much they love one another. They compile checklists of things they need to do so they can both qualify as superheroes. Everytime he gets hurt, she immediately runs to get him an ice pack and a stuffy. It happens so consistently that after every fall he watches for her down the hall, and it is as if her return is what heals him.
But what can I do to make them stay close?
Sure doesn’t seem like they can, unless we move to the forest. (Which could work out because I’m a little bit like a manic squirrel gathering nuts of truth to support my fears).
For example, in preschool, Sara had as many boy-friends as she had girl-friends. Now in kindergarten, it’s like there’s an electric fence separating the boys from the girls. Apparently, healthy, platonic bonding goes to hell at five.
This weekend we were at a birthday party and a friend said her son almost didn’t come because it was a “girls party.” Does a room full of kids, cake, and a bouncy house exhibit gender bias?
That same night my friend told me her brother is moving away with his girlfriend and it’s really the girlfriend she will miss more. She’s known the girlfriend for months, him for a lifetime. It was like a dagger to my heart. Dumb girlfriends, they ruin everything.
Ok, so here’s an evolved thought — maybe it doesn’t matter if they stay close. Either way, it’s not up to me.
My own sister told me she doesn’t want to have kids for selfish reasons. And then I broke the news to her: Everyone has kids for selfish reasons. The idea is once your kids are actually here and want things for themselves, you find the grace to realize they are allowed to have a self, and you step aside.
If my kids have a relationship, it will be for them. And if they don’t…well, I’m sorry then that’s just plain stupid.
I just want for them to be there for one another. I want his presence in the room to always make her feel whole, no matter the state of the rest of her life. I want her existence to mean he will never ever feel alone.
I think the only thing I can continue to do is show them how to love without limitations or expiration.
They certainly will always know one another in a way no one else can. It’s like every day they spend together, they are depositing goodness into one another’s soul.
A sibling is the best opportunity to have a best friend. It’s not a given, but it’s a start.
No matter what happens, right now they are the best of friends and that means something.
To me, it means everything.