If parents are the fixed stars in the child’s universe, the vaguely understood, distant but constant celestial spheres, siblings are the dazzling, sometimes scorching comets whizzing nearby.—Alison Gopnik
[one_half padding=”4px 10px 0 4px”]Siblings are a mixed bag of nuts, is what they are. Your parents reach into a bag and you never know if they’re going to pull out a glorious cashew that will be your best friend forever or one of those huge hazelnuts that everyone leaves in the bottom of the nut bowl. I got lucky, my brother is more of an almond: a little bland at times, but mixes well with others. There is almost five years between us. After having me, the doctor advised my parents that having another was highly unlikely, so we were all happy he made it here, even if it did take forever for him to get big enough to be a good scapegoat, er, I mean playmate.
Three years separate each of my boys, almost exactly in the case of the last two. I rather like that gap; it’s long enough that each developed their own personality and sense of personhood, but close enough they each had someone with whom they could play. The middle one is the glue that holds the other two together, even now. I don’t think any of them would have handled being an only child well. The youngest is getting a bit of a taste of that now that his brothers are grown, but when they were small it was always the three of them, tearing through the house, or out in the yard, or up and down store aisles.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 10px”]Kat’s two are closer, a mere 17 months apart. The difference in dynamics is amazing. There are times they love playing together and are each other’s fiercest friend and protector. Then, there are other times, often no more than five minutes from being best friends, that they are each other’s worst enemy. As they explore who they are and who they want to become, they test themselves out on each other. Sometimes that works well. Other times, they end up with their faces covered in magic marker, and somehow that’s never their own fault.
I’m not sure how kids without siblings survive childhood. My brother and I were never overly close, but we still need each other. Without siblings, there’s no one to share your thoughts in the quiet moments of the night, no one to plot your next great triumph, and no one to blame when that triumph turns into disaster. Even half-siblings that one doesn’t get to see every day is better than growing up alone, I think.
So here’s to siblings, their wonderfulness, their joy, and even the times they’re a pain in the ass. Thank you for making our lives interesting. [/one_half_last]