As they gathered around their aged and ailing mother, the sisters received a final piece of advice; you should always be together. The matriarch, my grandmother, my nanny, gave this directive to my mother and her sisters very shortly before her passing. This missive made a big impact on my mother and ultimately on us, her children. When it comes to her children, my mother is Perry Mason – never lost a case – always defends her clients. If I ever voice a complaint about my brothers, my mother will always end her impassioned defense with the following, “he means well.” I shake my head and huff as I have not received my desired, “I understand.” My only comfort is that should one of them complain about me (yes, it is possible I have done wrong – hard as that may be to believe) they will receive the same response.
I always knew why my mother defended my siblings, but now as a parent, I understand. She wants us to get along, she wants us to be there for each other, she wants us to be friends. When I see my two boys getting along and playing nicely with each other, I am thrilled and feel a sense of contentment – everything is right. No, it’s not just because I won’t have to hear whining or crying though that is an awesome benefit. I want them to be friends. I want them to build those bonds when they are young and for those bonds to grow as they get older. Don’t we all want our children to be best friends with each other?
BR, my 8 year-old, is very much a big brother. He is dominant and can be moody – sometimes angry though more often generous and curious. SY, my 5 year-old who can be a bit whiny, is for the most part compliant and pleasant. SY will follow his brother pretty much anywhere, “I’ll do anything you want to do BR.” He sits next to his big brother while BR plays computer games and cheers for him. If my wife or I call to BR for something which disturbs his all important video game, it is SY that tends to get angrier than BR (could just be that BR is much more adept at tuning his parents out) and tells us that BR is in the middle of a game. By the way, SY never even bothers playing the game. The other day I asked BR do you ever let your little brother play. He said, “no, he never asks to play.”
“Do you ever ask him?”
He turned to him, “SY, do you want to play?”
“No, I just want to watch you.”
“See,” BR calls to me, “he doesn’t want to play.”
Sure there are those moments when it is best for all parties to have BR and SY in separate rooms, each with their own toys and television. However, in general, the boys get along. Yet, when other children get in the mix, the brotherly love often seems to fade into the background. All of a sudden, they don’t have time for each other or don’t even want the other around. It is those times when the boys are part of a larger group that I as a parent want them to be there for each other even more. My wife and I have given both boys, particularly BR who is more capable of understanding, the lesson about having each other’s back. “Look out for each other,” we counsel.
I hope that the friendship that they already have for one another will continue to grow as they do. I hope that my wife and I have produced best friends or at least brothers who remember there is nothing like family. I wish that they will do just as nanny said – you should always be together.
I think the key to ameliorating the negativity of sibling rivalry is a lack of favoritism in the parenting. I have been very lucky with my kids. They rarely argue and I know each of them would fight to the death for the others. Sounds like you’ve got your priorities lined up properly. 🙂
I hope so. I think there is only so much we as parents can do to foster a long term relationship between our children. Children can come from the same parents and yet be so remarkably different which makes it harder to appreciate each other.
Tell me! I have five sisters and we are all so different. 🙂
Wow, there was alot of estrogen in your house. I hope there were many bathrooms.
The neighbors joked about how much time my dad spent in the garage. My view is, he was spoiled rotten.:)
I am sure you guys gave him many happy moments but I still sympathize with him.
This is a very good post. I did not understand it until my second child was born.
Me either – at least not the way I understand it now.
This is very sweet. It is exactly what I wish for for my two boys, to be family and friends.
I think we all do. Hoepfully, it will happen.
Thanks for commenting.
I think a good sibling relationship is great. My son is my daughters best friend and visa versa. two of my best friends who are twins have grown very much apart and basically dislike each other. It is so sad. Unfortunately it doesnt say anywhere tha siblings must get along, but it is great when they do.
That is great about your children. I am sure it brings you much joy.
You’ve described my girls to a tee! Thank you for a lovely post and for putting my wishes into beautiful words for me.
Very cool. Thanks so much for your kind words.
I think that your writing is smart and I enjoy it! Because of this, I have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award! Congrats:)
I appreciate compliments very much. I hope the writing continues to impress.
As a father of three, I’ve found that much of the fighting comes when they’re all together. If you have two of them alone – any two – they play beautifully. But when you add the third into the mix, it’s like dropping raw magnesium into water. I do wonder if this is an attention thing…
That’s interesting. I remember a cousin of mine who went on to have 7 children. She told me she felt the most overwhelmed when she had her third. The kids outnumbered the parents.
My son is an only child so he clearly didn’t have sibling bonding but I think we did a pretty good job ensuring he has lots of loyal friends around him. I like the first comment by linneann, when I was young we had a lot of favouritism in our family unit and that caused many problems then and still does now. I am happy to say that finally though my sister and I are closer than ever, more through us seeing common sense than any parental guidance. I think you’re doing a great job, family is so important and as you get older you see and realise it more than ever.
That’s cool that you and your sister are getting closer as you get older. I think alot of the stuff (technical word – be wary of using at home) that is there when we are growing up disappears as we get older. Maybe, we are not so different. Of couse, sometimes other stuff (there I go again) gets in the way when you are adults, but that’s another story.
Thanks for commenting
I wish the same thing for my two. They are the opposite around other kids. When it’s just the two of them, they fight like dogs. But around other kids, they stick to each other like glue. Just the other day, we were at a neighbourhood street party and it was near a local park. Of course the park was packed with kids and my two joined the crowd. Shortly after we settled into our lawn chairs, I saw my 4-year-old daughter running after a boy about my son’s age (he’s 2). I called to her to leave the little boy alone. She ran right over to me and said, “But Mom! That boy pushed L down the slide and I just want to tell him that that’s not nice. He can’t push my little brother!” I was so proud!
Interesting that company seems to bring them together.
By the way, extra dessert, double the allowance – whatever it is – I love that your 4-year-old was looking after her brother. Beautiful!
awesome post, values like nanny passed on define the saying “L’dor v’dor”, from generation to generation…I hope that we continue the tradition at our generation and also pass it on to our kids. BTW, Mom never says “he means well” when I complain about you, she says….. 🙂
Thanks for your response.
I am with you and very much hope that our children feel a bond not only with their siblings but with their extended family as well. They should follow the wisdom of their great grandmothe and thie Bubbe too.
This is sooooooo beautiful and I mean that. I had a mother who always wanted her kids to be the best of friends. As we grew up we knew we could depend on each other. Today, when I go home I always visit all of my sisters and my one brother even though they are miles apart, two of them in two different states in the North and Midwest. So, what you are doing will pay off. I can assure you of that. Keep at it. They will look to one another even after they have their own families.
Your nanny gave her children, something that money cannot buy. Your mother took it to heart and passed it on to you and your brothers and sisters. My mother always said, he or she means well. I would be livid with anger but she still had a heart for that sister or brother of mine who had messed up again. And I am thankful now that she did. That is a real mother’s love.
So I encourage you and your wife to keep at it. You are on the right track and years from now, two brothers will pass it on to their kids.
Thank you for such a wonderful article. I waited until today, because I wanted to read what you had to say without rushing to do something else. I like to read things with my heart, and today I was able to do that.
Keep up the good work. I like what I see coming out of your computer(or shall I say pen).
Again, you give the greatest feedback. It is always a pleasure to recieve it.
That is cool that you and your siblings have managed to stay close despite the distance. I’m sure your mother is smiling about that.
In terms of my children passing it on to their kids – I can only hope.
This is so well written…..Love it! It’s interesting how much this mirrors my post or at least my sentiments on this subject and obviously how your grandmother and mother felt as well. It must be so natural for all parents to want their children to be close so that when we are gone they have each other. Friends are truly wonderful but family will always be there for you through thick and thin if you cherish and support that bond. As a parent it is amazing and fascinating watching those relationships build!
Secondly, I think you are right. It deos seem natural that parents want their children to be close. I think part of it is we are close with them and think that they should be close with each other. There is nothing like family.
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