I do not understand this whole “Sibling Day” business. And no I’m not talking about how there is literally some version of a made up, Hallmark holiday every other day. I’m speaking specifically of this incredibly strange, multi-faceted relationship siblings have. I just don’t get it!
For starters, I’m an only child. I grew up in a household where all the attention was on me, the only toys were mine, and the conversations I had at home were with adults. I grew up thinking I was missing out on the joys of having siblings. I never had built in friends in my family. I never had other kids with me when I went into an adult circumstance. I never had closets to raid, other people’s toys to play with or people around similar in age to me. My years of being an only child were mostly spent longing to have siblings like my friends’.
Now I have created a family in the exact sense I believed a family to be when I was a child – mother, father and a few rugrats. Now that I have three of the most amazing and special (yet amazingly challenging) children, I realize that their lives aren’t necessarily more improved because they have siblings.
Each of my children are so uniquely special. Because I’m so compromised by time, energy, hours in the day, etc., I can’t properly celebrate them to the degree they deserve. Having a pie (representing my abilities as a mother) that you have to split 3 ways, as opposed to giving the whole pie to one child, is always going to leave someone without something they need or could use. And because of the fact that I’m so constantly compromised, sibling rivalry is so intense. Every one of my kids constantly fighting for my attention or time.
When I first discussed with our pediatrician about how it would emotionally impact my first born adding to our brood, he explained point blank that it teaches them to navigate relationships with other people from the beginning. I appreciate the fact that my kids have the ability to socialize with other children before they even enter a music class or baby gym class. However, shouldn’t these beautiful babies get the opportunity to take up all their parents’ attention before they go into the world which will always be throwing them on the back burner? Shouldn’t they have the chance to learn to share, wait their turn, etc. in school and not at home? Shouldn’t they have a chance some point in life to get it all?
I have experienced plenty of friends who grew up fighting with their siblings only to have become friends after they no longer lived under the same roof. I also have friends that will probably have sibling rivalry with their siblings until they are well into their 90s. I still have confidence that their is a value in having siblings. I hope some day my kids will see each other as “forever friends.” I hope they will find some peace that there is a peer in this world that loves them and accepts them for who they are. I hope as life gets harder and we face family challenges, they will learn to lean on each other and provide each other comfort. I hope some day they can make it through a meal, car ride or family outing without fighting with each other. Maybe “Sibling Day” should be pictures of the injuries, brawls, pains sustained from your siblings…because that’s where we are now.