The Joy of Siblings

One of the wonderful things about having more than one child is that I get to see how my children interact with each other, teach each other, and enrich each other's lives.  (Yes, this is despite the "Ow, she pushed me" moments, of which I am well aware.)  
Lolly reading to Toot-Toot

It is a proud and happy thing to see one child teach another. 

Toot-Toot "reading" to Ola

I was raised, in a sense, as an only child.  My brother was born when I was twelve years old (after my parents had remarried each other), and I didn't meet my older half-sister until after our brother's birth. However, for those first twelve years, I was the only child and grandchild in my family.  Spoiled doesn't even begin to describe me, I am sure.  My mother had lost two siblings in accidents before they reached adulthood, and I think that their early deaths led my family to be extra-protective of me. (Though I won't blame anyone but myself for my neuroticism.)

A rare reunion, two years ago

Oh, how I wanted a brother or sister so badly!  I used to pray for one, against all odds.  But when my little brother (who is now almost 6'8" tall) was born, I was so much older than him that I felt more like an aunt than a sister.  But no matter... I will always have a brother and a sister, even though we are not as close as I wish we were.  Amazing now to think that my little brother is a parent himself and my big sister is going to be a grandmother.  Wow.

Of course, there are perks to being an only child.  My early school years were probably helped greatly by the fact that I had the attention of many adult relatives.  I didn't have to share my toys, or anything else, very often.  (Side note: at one point shortly after my parents divorced for the first time, my father briefly remarried, and I instantly had two older stepsiblings.  I remember little about my stepsister, April, but I do still have one item from her: a card that she made for me.  It says, "I love you, even though you are selfish.")

There are also perks to having only one child.  I speak with some of my girlfriends who have one child and I notice that they are able to not only have more one-on-one time with the child, but also more free time for themselves.  There are fewer decisions and compromises to make, I would imagine.

However, I feel so blessed to have three little ones (and an adult stepson) who can love and support each other long after my husband and I are gone.  Plus, there are some practical benefits, including the fact that siblings usually entertain each other.  If I am too exhausted to finish another round of fingerplays and nursery rhymes, I ask Lolly to do them for Toot-Toot and Ola, and she is only too happy to help!  They play games with each other, feed each other, comfort each other, and teach each other.  When it works, it's magical.

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