Sister by blood, friend by choice.

4:41 PM

    Oregon has seen record-breaking snow-fall this year, and it has everyone in a flurry.  Ha ha.  Actually I don't really know if that's true but it seems like it has to be?  How many inches did we get this time, 16??   As opposed to the 1.5 inches we get every two years?  I don't know.  I'm a bad person to ask because I'm horrible with details and tend to exaggerate.  But nevertheless, anyone you ask will say this almost NEVER happens around here.  So while everyone else in the snowy states is getting rather bored/tired/sick of snow, we've been rather enjoying it's rare appearance around this house.

       But unfortunately, freezing temperatures don't allow us to frolic in the fluffy white stuff forever.  So of course the extra time spent cooped up indoors always results in a healthy dose of cabin fever, and a grumpy girl or two.

   Lately it seems we have been battling extra hard with this whole "my-sister-is-actually-my-friend" concept.  I know they love each other, truly they do.  But sometimes when you're 3 years old and coming into your own and feeling the need to define your status and place in this world…..well, little sis can just get in the way.  And vice versa, when Charlotte starts getting old enough to defend herself a little bit, well, big Sis finds out the hard way that whatever it is she is doing is not exactly petting the cat in the right direction, if you know what I mean.

   So first and foremost, I want to ask all of you moms out there……how do you promote friendship among your children?  How do you encourage closeness?  It feels so hard when it seems sometimes I am just disciplining wrong actions, which just in turn fosters hostility toward the other one for "getting them in trouble".  Tips?  Advice?  Wisdom?  Share please!!

   Don't get me wrong, it's not always a battle.  They have these heart-warming moments of sharing and cuddling and giggling and I'm instantly transported into the future and I can see it all so clearly…..There they are, sprawled across their beds with hair spilling wild and beautiful around their shoulders, chatting animatedly about life.  Charlotte shares about an issue that has been frustrating her lately and Jocelyn shares some wisdom she's learned from her extra 18 months of life….they laugh together and just as I'm grabbing the cookie dough ice cream and opening the door to join them, I'm wrenched from my reverie  by the cries and shrieks of my little ones…..oh dear, what is it this time?

  I reluctantly break from my dreamland and sulk off to investigate, knowing I won't be happy with what I find.  I just want them to WANT to be friends, you know?  I don't want them to just endure each other because they have to…because they eat, sleep, play, live and breathe together.  I want them to want to be together.  To choose that togetherness.  
To be loyal to one another.  
To stick up for each other, defend one another.
To the other above all other friends.
To truly, deeply, love each other.

  Every mama wants her children to be best friends.  Long before Charlotte was born, and before I even knew I was pregnant, I hoped that Jocelyn would one day know the privilege of having a brother or sister, and that they would quickly become kindred spirits.  

Anne and Diana.
Tom and Huck.
Lucy and Carol.
Sherlock and Watson.
Calvin and Hobbes.
Charlotte and Wilbur. 

   I want them to know the value and the priceless quality of having someone in their life that has been there for all of it.  That one person that will always know you a little bit better than anyone else ever could.  That one person that will always interpret the language you speak in.  Understand the lenses you see through.  Identify with the filters you feel through.  That person knows, because they have been through so many of the same life experiences, situations and environments as you.  Plus they have the same crazy mom to deal with!  Ha. 

My dear-daughters-in-the-future, here is my word for you.  

   Never take for granted what you have.  It was a gift, given to you.  Not everyone is lucky enough to experience the blessing of a sister, or even a sibling, for all of their life.  

Never underestimate the power of a sister's love.  

   Friends may come and go, and often in friendships there will be competition, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.  But don't ever let that creep into the bond you have with your sister.  They will be a part of your life, for all of your life, and the blessings are too deep, too vast and too rich to risk losing over some small, trifling, passing thing.  

Don't compare.  
   You're right, she's not like you.  She is different from you, as you are both perfectly unique creatures.   I wouldn't want it any other way!  Each of you, by being different, reflects a different beautiful aspect of the Father, just as He intended it! So stop trying to be like the other one.  Or for that matter, stop trying to be different from the other one!  Just be yourself.  Just be who God intended for you to be.  I would hate for the world to miss out on any part of the genuine YOU.

And last of all, just love her.  

   Love her every moment of every day, because we are given such a short, short time on this world, and I don't want to see you miss even one moment of the gift of friendship that you could find in your sister.  I love you both so much, in each and every one of your unique ways, and I love how you love each other.  

Always yours,

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  1. This is a subject near to my own heart, and something I work on constantly. One thing I do hold onto is that while I was growing up with my 7 siblings, we did not always get along. Sometimes we fought pretty bad. =( But as we became older teens, we seemed to mature somewhat, and we became each others' bestest friends. And when we have family gatherings, I am in heaven because I am surrounded by my best friends ever. They all get me, and we have so much in common. Anyways, back to my own crew, I have just a couple of ideas. One is to give them plenty of time to play/read books/ do games/ crafts/ chores alone or with me so that they aren't ALWAYS forced to be with their siblings. Then when they DO have free time to play together, they are much more likely to really enjoy it. And second, they seem to enjoy each other's company much more if sometimes I do things with them. My little girls will enjoy their Candyland game together so much more if Mama plays too, and they don't bicker or argue. Or if we do a craft at the table, and I walk away to do my own work, it doesn't turn out quite so harmonious as if I would just be there with them. I know mine are alittle older than yours, but you can maybe identify with some of it. =) Sorry for the epistle ...

  2. Oh yes, I know all about this. Our girls are 17 months apart... they can fight all the live long day but yet are each others fiercest defenders. The other night, we were at a supper where they were playing with older girls. I kept noticing the other girls kept running off and our girls couldn't keep up. But they had each other, they held hands and stuck together as they ran 10 feet behind the other girls. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them but yet I was so proud that they had each other. They are each others best friend.

  3. How well I know this feeling. At 10 and 8 we are STILL learning some of these things here. They can argue fiercely and I would like to think they defend each other just as well. Maybe one day it will totally sink in. -Love your letter to them at the bottom!

  4. Love your post!! Working all most full time at home, I was at home, sometimes in the office (a separate building)
    and not totally supervising. A 3-4 yr child needs to have a balance, they need to be independent enough to play some on their own without touching mom or being in the same room all their waking hours. But also needs time with mom who needs to be close to keep them from touching in a non loving way. I feel parents who let the kids fight it out will be disappointed in their children's actions when they are teens or adults. (Not laws, my ideas.)

  5. Found you from The Wiegands website...I live in Oregon too! Love finding other local bloggers. :)

  6. I didn't read the other comments so this may have been suggested already but one thing that has helped more than anything else I've tried is to separate them. They really hate this because as much as they are fighting they still want someone to play with I send them into separate rooms with little or no toys I guess it's my own form of solitary confinement. Anyway just a little advise. I've tried other things like making them sit together on the couch or the get along shirt that sort of works. But the separation thing works more than anything. We also have a practice round of how we should have talked things out to prevent fights. I think it's important to teach them at a very young age how to communicate with each other in the right way when they disagree. I've by no means arrived and we still have disputes but this has helped me and so I pass it on to you. --LaDonna

  7. love this post, Shelley. good thoughts here! I'm in a family of ten kids and we love each other to death, always. We're not perfect but 95% of the time there is perfect harmony in our relationships. =) I give all the credit to my parents. Kids that aren't trained to love being together, won't love being together. The other thing is most parents send their kids off to be with other kids most of the time, and so then of course they aren't going to be BFF's with their own siblings. The best way to learn to love each other and get along is to spend time and LOTS of it, with each other.
    thanks for this post!


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