Sunday, June 23, 2013

Brotherly Love

It warms my heart each time I see Whit hug, kiss or otherwise show affection to his sister.  I mentioned early on that Kirk was doing a wonderful job teaching Whit to interact positively with his sister.  He comes from experience as the bond he shares with his own younger brother is one of the strongest I've ever seen.

Don't get me wrong; I love the relationship I have as an adult with my sister and I'm capable of teaching Whit and Eilidh how to have loving interactions.  But the sibling relationships of my younger years were more likely to be punctuated with fights and competitiveness than hugs and kisses.  The relationship I now have with my sister evolved when we were both "adults" and in college together.  I pray that I can continue to grow the relationship I have with my younger brother now that he is an adult as well.

Discussing the dynamics of sibling relationships gets me thinking.... like so many other things in our society, it seems that sibling relationships are affected by what we perceive to be be "normal," ie, sibling rivalry, jealousy, fights.  But what if, like so many other things, it didn't have to be that way?

Many modern American families have two working parents which means children are cared for by someone outside of the immediate family from a young age, sometimes as early as 6 weeks.  In a typical day care setting, children are put into different sections based on age.  Even if your kids attend the same day care, they will get very little interaction with each other during the day.  By necessity, it continues on the same way throughout their years of elementary, high school and college.  Technology simply adds to the dilemma.  Anyone who has witnessed the moody teen sitting at the dinner table absorbed in their smart phone can see that although they are present, they aren't really "present." By they time they are adults, the sibling bond has weakened to a point that sadly many siblings fall out of contact with each other or rarely visit.

On the other hand, people talk about how closely bonded twins are. Does that 9 months (6 of which they are mostly unaware of the other's presence) really make that big of a difference? Or is it that they spend the majority of their formative years together? They share rooms, share a birthday, share life experiences.  Parents don't want their singletons to have to share or even have a close birthday, but no one bats an eye that twins ALWAYS (well, mostly) share that special day.

I am a family person.  Family to me comes before everything except my personal faith. So when I found out that I was pregnant with Eilidh I knew that I wanted my children to be together as much as possible, especially during the day if I would be returning to work.  We planned to continue to send Whit to pre-school but the rest of his day would be spent with a private care provider where he would get to interact and create a bond with his younger sister.  Of course, now that I will be home until God sees fit to send me back to work, I know, and am grateful that they will  get this daily interaction.

Getting kisses from Eilidh

Let me show you how to play with this moose...

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