Today Gabby and I met “DaDa” for lunch. Gabby having the undivided attention of both of her parents is almost an unrecognizable Gabby. This reiterated our plans for her upcoming birthday next Tuesday.
At first I was undecided about what to do to celebrate Gabby’s birthday. She rarely, if ever, has both of her parents doting on her. It seems if there is ever a day to have your parents all to yourself, it should be your birthday. However, the fact of the matter is that Gabby has a brother and not including him in the festivities doesn’t exactly seem fair. We came to the conclusion that we will have a family outing during the day, Drew will have a special night with his grandparents all to himself and Gabby will have a dinner and outing with her parents to herself. Win/win, right?
I have expressed many times that there is no doubt in my mind that these two children will benefit from having each other. I think it’s a very special relationship between siblings, a certain bond unlike any other. There are also deficits in being a part of a family where you have to compete for your parents’ attention. And in this family, there is frequently very little space left for our little princess.
Drew was the first, somewhere in the recesses of his mind he knows what life was like having his parents to himself. Gabby, on the other hand, has never known a life without a sibling and doesn’t necessarily feel slighted for sharing the space. There’s something, however, about Drew’s aggressive, overbearing attitude around her that makes me want to look out for her. I fear that my (frequently unconscious) behavior is going to lead to sibling rivalry down the road. Whatever we do, whatever the circumstance is, Drew has to be first. We could be looking at a baby touching book and he will bull doze her to touch the page first. It could be the preferred seat in the bath tub, the first one up the steps, the chance to push the toy…it’s got to be Drew.
The sad thing is that Gabby easily, without second thought, concedes. “Ok Drew-Drew.” No Gabby, put up your fight. Stand your ground. Rather she waits until she finds an unsuspecting kid in the gym day care to channel that inner rage. So I find myself fighting for her. Forcing Drew to slow down, give her a turn. Ultimately resulting in another instance where Drew and I just butt heads.
We’ve already had mean comments, tears and frustration over it being Gabby’s birthday next week. Am I wrong for wanting her to have some peace and happiness in the spotlight without Drew redirecting the spotlight to himself? Is it crazy that I want to see that unrecognizable Gabby where she is not in the shadow of her brother for one birthday celebration? Given the choice, I would never want to damper Drew’s spirit and change anything about him (well, almost anything). Yet I want to give Gabby her chance to shine too. Shine like she did this afternoon…or maybe that was just the 95 degree sun that was getting in my eyes.