Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love

“The family you come from isn’t as important as the family you’re going to have.” - Ring Lardner

Over the years, I’ve realized my sister and I aren’t as close as most brothers and sisters. Even though we live in the same town, less than 5 miles away, we see each other only a couple times a month. We hardly talk on the phone. We will both lend a hand if asked, but I just don’t think we have the close relationship that brothers and sisters are supposed to have.

I’ve thought about it more than once. “Why do I not have that connection that we are supposed to have?” I’ve come to a few possible conclusions. We grew up in a house where our parents didn’t show much affection to each other or to us. There were never any kisses hello or goodbye and a hug was few and far between. Also, communication was difficult. Simple family conversations over dinner never happened. My dad was often not home. With my mom, the TV was more important. My parents rarely explained any life lessons to us so we were on our own, usually going outside the house to learn. You can imagine the results there.

With this in mind, probably to a fault, I am focused on my son’s relationship with his sister. I want them both to have a relationship that I do not have with my sister. I can’t count the number of times tried to get The Champ to be the “big brother” to his little sister.

"Champ, give your sister a kiss goodnight."

"Champ, take Peanut’s hand", as we walk across a parking lot.

"Champ, watch your sister for a minute" as I run outside for a second.

Or trying to explain to him, when he yells at his sister after she separates Annie from Clarabel, "She doesn’t understand. You have to be patient."

Although they are both young, there are glimpses of it sinking in. This morning, as we all left the house, Peanut & The Champ exchanged a hug and kiss goodbye without being told. It was beautiful. Yes, they will be teenagers soon enough and they will despise one another during that time, I’m sure. But I hope setting a foundation now will ensure they realize they both have something special.

Something I wish I had with my sister.

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Blogger Whit said...

I'm sorry you and your sister don't have the relationship you would like to, but it's never too late.

I applaud your attempt to instill it in your children.

Tue May 29, 06:55:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Em said...

So terrific to see what you try to teach show up in your kids. I am an only child so the many facets of my kids' relationship often amazes me.

Tue May 29, 08:31:00 PM 2007  
Blogger fatty said...

i treasure my relationship with my brother and so i, too, am sometimes overly focused on wanting to make sure my kids get to experience that.

i admire your foundation building.. it will make a difference.

and whit's right.. it's never too late.. :o)

Wed May 30, 01:12:00 AM 2007  
Anonymous Dan said...

I've never been very close to my siblings, probably for the many of the same reasons you cite. It's never bothered me much, we just don't have that much in common aside from a mutual tormenting of each other as we were growing up. We don't argue, we just don't choose each other's company very often.

Saying that I too want my kids to have a better relationship with each other than I do with my brothe and sister. That's why I lock them in the cupboard under the stairs together - in order to forge a close bond through adversity.

Wed May 30, 02:32:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

This post makes me completely understand the "Above Average" part.

I'm not very close to my brother and desperately want The Mayor and The Rooster to be close.

Wed May 30, 08:51:00 AM 2007  
Blogger charlottalove said...

I think it's great that you found a weak link in your childhood and are now taking precautions to strengthen that bond in your own children. It can be done. Although there was love in my home growing up, I resisted it. I didn't ever express my love or appreciation for my family members. When I got to college I realized it had to be me to reach out. I finally told my mom I loved her over the phone. She paused and then said, "Oh...I love you too."
That was 10 years ago. We are to the point where every conversation ends with love. It can be done. And it does take time.
I enjoyed this post.

Wed May 30, 09:50:00 AM 2007  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

My siblings and I are not close. My brother is only a year older than I and we seldom speak. My relationship with my sister is better, but could hardly be referred to as close.

I am working hard at instilling a closeness between my children, and placing extreme value on the friendship that they share.

It warms my heart to hear them refer to one another as each other's best friends. Even if they fight like little cubs half the time, they are so reliant on one another.

Perhaps my siblings and I can learn from my children...

Wed May 30, 12:14:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Ben & Bennie said...

My brothers live far away but we are extremely close even though we may only see each other once a year. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that our family was almost opposite. Family meals together, lots of affection from mom & dad, etc.

I think it's wonderful you're encouraging your son to look out out for sis. It'll be another one of those treasures you'll appreciate one day.

Thu May 31, 09:11:00 AM 2007  
Anonymous Chaos Control said...

I'm not very close to my brother, either - but I think that is more a result of his private personality than anything else. I often wish we were closer than we are.

I'm looking forward to teaching my son how to be a great big brother! Because you're right, you're setting a great foundation that they will come back to one day ... after the horrible teenage years pass by.

By the way .. new here .. and off to take a run around the ball park!

Thu May 31, 02:18:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Stepping Over the Junk said...

this was lovely. my girls are very close friends...sometimes though, a little too close and it is hard when they fight and get on each other's nerves...for the most part, they protect each other. My sister and I had a very close relationship and still do and I work on instilling that unconditional love between my two. Of course, we have days when they spit across the car from each other or hide their toys from one another...but still...good job. Nice to hear it is a focus for you and your two.

Fri Jun 01, 07:26:00 AM 2007  
Blogger FENICLE said...

I love the quote you used with the picture. You really got me thinking when you wrote that with your mom the tv was more important. Sometimes I feel guilty that I spend too much time on the computer or watching tv - as if it were more important than my son.

Fri Jun 01, 10:10:00 PM 2007  

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