Sibling Lovelry

When my son, AKA Beagle, was four years old, husband and I announced that baby number three was on the way.  “I want a brother,” Beagle announced with conviction, as if his wanting was enough to manifest a baby boy.  He already had an older sister so…..we broke the news gently.

“We do know what the baby is,” I admitted.  His face lit up with anticipation.  “It’s a girl.”  Instantaneously, Beagle’s head dropped with a thud onto the table in despair.  With face buried in forearm, he lay silent.  While older sister, AKA Principessa, danced in celebration, I attempted to explain to the top of Beagle’s head that we didn’t get to choose.

Silence.

I added sugar-coating like the fact that he would always have his own room as the as the only boy.

Silence.

I assured him that he’d be a great big brother.

Silence.

Then Beagle raised a single hand in the air, head still down, and solemnly replied, “I’ll be okay.”

Beagle was more than okay.  This is a picture of him when Peach arrived.  Could he be any more smitten?

As it turned out, Beagle and Peach formed a close bond.  He adored his little sister and she him.  Eventually though, the novelty wore off and he went his merry boy way.  I feared that their lack of common interests would prohibit a close relationship between them.  But when Peach turned six and couldn’t ride a bike without training wheels, Beagle stepped in.

It was a casual summer day when Beagle marched in the kitchen and accused me of negligence.  “I can’t believe you haven’t taught Peach how to ride on two wheels yet.  She can’t start First Grade on training wheels!  Leave it to me.  I know what I’m doing.”

Staunchly determined, Beagle grabbed a fistful of lollipops for reinforcement and headed outside.  Honoring my promise not to interfere, I watched from the window.

Like a pro, doting older brother ran up and down the driveway holding the back of Peach’s bike while shouting out instructions and encouragement.  Within the hour, Peach was riding solo with big brother running alongside and cheering.

Beagle strutted back into the house, chest puffed up, and declared, “Mission accomplished.”

I was reminded of that favorite story today, three years later, when I sat poolside watching Beagle teach Peach how to dive.  With characteristic patience and sensitivity, big brother devoted his afternoon to imparting this new skill.  All the while he exchanged secret smiles with me, each of us enjoying the process.

These are the kinds of moments that make my mother heart swell with joy.  These are the shreds of hope that restrain me when I want to choke the next child who fights with a sibling.  I need these reminders from time to time to balance the sometimes excruciating task of establishing family harmony. Like, for instance, several weeks into summer vacation.

Today I decide that I can rest peacefully, knowing that no matter how much my little ones bicker and compete, they do love each other.  When the rubber meets the road, they travel together.

I suspect that when I’m old and gray, and my children are grown, they will continue to have their differences.  They may even try to involve me for peacekeeping.  And I will sit back in my rocking chair smiling at their sibling lovelry.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sacha
    Aug 03, 2012 @ 06:25:26

    To sibling lovelry!

    Reply

  2. Heather Manolian
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 00:18:09

    so perfectly put – and to think Ashton just spent Sunday morning doing the exact same thing with Charlotte – this ahead of cousin lovelry (8-year-old cousin was set to arrive at pool momentarily). It is so heart-warming when they show their love instead of the rivalry! thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Where a Parent Really Is During Graduation | Chaos & Clarity

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