Monday, February 11, 2008

Sibling mysteries.....

I am a senior citizen. I am on the last 1/3 block of my existence but I am still puzzled by one facet of life. Siblings. I am an only child, from parents who were both only children. I have no idea what the normal relationship between siblings should be. I know what I’d LIKE it to be. I know what it COULD be but I am completely mystified by it all because I’ve never experienced it myself.

I had two children because I did not want them to grow up alone. I was lonely a lot of the time. You learn to like your own company, especially if you live on a farm and close neighbors are not a reality. I always wanted a brother or a sister, probably because I didn’t have one. You know kids always want what they don’t have. I had friends who had brothers and sisters and I thought it was great, even if they didn’t most of the time.

I was blessed with two children, one of each sex. My daughter, being the oldest, was not thrilled when her brother arrived on the scene when she was 3. My attempts to make him seem like a gift didn’t sway her at all. All these cute things you see or read about where the oldest one wants to help take care of the little one never happened in my home. If the phrase ‘take care of’ meant to eliminate, then she would have been all for it, I’m sure. I kept thinking that they would grow to love one another.

As time went on, he became bigger and delighted in teasing his sister. Frogs in her bed, burping in her ear type of things went on frequently. He rough-housed and smacked her a lot and she cried a lot. This did nothing to endear him to her, believe me. Of course teasing went both ways; she did her share. I kept thinking they would grow to love one another.

After they were young adults I was sure they would be glad to have each other. They both moved out of the house, at different times, and started out on their own. They actually would go for months and months and not even talk or even ask about the other. Is this normal? By now my husband and I were divorced and the boy visited him the most and the girl, me. I kept thinking that they would grow to love one another.

Now they are middle-aged and both parents. They are both SINGLE parents. They have something in common. Everyone sees everyone else frequently. They are both very possessive over their dad or me. They are in competition for our attention. They remind me of a couple of pit bulls straining on their tethers. The air is testy with their charged feelings toward each other when in the same room….or the same house for that matter. Each one complains secretly to me about the other’s life, friends, spending, personality or child. They glare at one another, they snap at each other, words are said and taken wrong and tempers flare. Most holidays are a nightmare. Sometimes I throw up my hands to the heavens and ask WHY I have to contend with all this and vow I won’t anymore. Yet they have each saved the other’s life more than once. Out of the blue one will do an unexpected favor or act of kindness toward the other. If someone threatens or makes one fearful or breaks their heart, the other is fired up and ready to defend and fight. Have they grown to love each other? This is a strange love to me or is it because I don’t understand sibling love?



sounds like they haven't figured out how to feel "accepted" within their family, even though you've done a wonderful job from what your heart has expressed here.

Tough to answer though, I have 4 siblings and am close to all of them, but I still complain to my mom about one in particular...
Happy Monday!

mapiprincesa! said...


I have a younger sister. We have never been best friends, but we now respect each other's chosen paths and, in the rare occasions we do speak on the phone it is for a few hours and quite pleasant. I feel drawn to her now...although I would not want to be her next-door neighbor. She is about to, next week, give birth to her second-and final-child. One of each, just like me.

My daughter has a different view of her brother. They play hard but they adore each other. They can cuddle like no two children I have ever seen, and there is no lack of affection between them. This was NOT how my sister and I ever have been nor ever will be. It is beautiful...and it is just how they are.

I can only hope they maintain this closeness. It is hard to imagine, but I have one close friend in particular who is very close to her brother and his wife and their baby. Yet she is not so close to the other brother, mainly due to decisions he has made involving drugs.

I honestly believe it's innate. Some people are good with others, some are not. It's a tough question.

Definitely food for thought tonight. Thank you, Val.

Be well.

Kelly Jene said...

Sounds like my brothers. I have two of them. I get along with my brother who is closest in age to me. We're about 18 months apart. But the two brothers are in constant competition. My oldest brother competes ALL the time with everything and everyone. Ugh it gets tiring!

My kids though are a dream and I can only pray they will continue that way. My son was on the verge of four when his lil brother came along. He did love and cuddle him. They adore each other even through spits and spats.

Anonymous said...

well i have one older brother..he is so much older than age..he is almost like a 2nd father...! sibling love...hmmm it is fascinating and something baby bean wont get a chance to she's an only child.

Anonymous said...

well i have one older brother..he is so much older than age..he is almost like a 2nd father...! sibling love...hmmm it is fascinating and something baby bean wont get a chance to she's an only child.

Gypsy said...

I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters and we all get along very well. It was quite a different story growing up though especially between me and the middle sister. We couldn't stand the sight of each other.

My twins fight CONSTANTLY and I keep wishing that one day they will get along. I tell them that they are each the only sibling the other will have but it doesn't seem to have any effect. But just like your two kids, when push comes to shove, they would fight to the death for each other in times of need.

simonsays said...

I don't know Val, what you describe seems pretty normal to me. My kids hated one another growing up, but all three of them have decided to allow each other the differences between them and still be close in adulthood. I'll bet one day yours will come to the same agreement - only sometimes it's a lot later than we would like it to be, don't you think? Maybe because you have no siblings to be close to, they don't understand the importance, but they will figure it out....

Just the fact that they fight for one another tells me how much they care. As parents, we always want our kids to have more and better than we have, so it's only natural that you would worry about this. Where would we be if we didn't/couldn't worry? I know where I would the bahamas, drinking mai-tai's...not a care in the

Have a good day!

The Real Mother Hen said...

My sister and I are like... oil and water?
So despite having a sister, I feel like I'm all alone though.
It's a strange feeling.

Brad said...

I've just found my way here for the first time via fiwa's blog, but since I’m here, and can so relate to your kids situation, I'll speak up and not lurk. My sis and I are seemingly about the same age and separation as yours - or close enough. My experience has been that while I don't talk to my sister nearly enough, she knows I'm there for her, my niece and brother in-law in a heartbeat. If called on I’ll do anything to help. Sounds like your kids would to, put petty things aside when they need each other. It also sounds like you both did a great job raising them. Don’t blame yourself for the petty squabbles your kids have - it's just part of being siblings – sorry, just my un-solicited opinion. Something about your post really resonated in me.

Thanks – Brad

Golden To Silver Val said...

Crusty ~ you are so blessed!

Mapi ~ it sounds like your children will always be close. I hope, as the years pass, you and your sister will become closer.

Kelly ~ it sounds like your children will always be close also. I like to see that.

jyankee ~ LOL, you were almost like an only child yourself.

Gypsy girl ~ Since your twins fight like crazy right now, it may be that they will be really close as they get older. I hope so.

Jamie ~ LOL, you are so right. I seem to always be in search of SOMETHING to worry about. Talk about a mother hen!! I need to just quit thinking about it and let it be. What do they say now? is what it is. LOL

Mother Hen ~ From what I'm getting by the comments here...sibling relationships can be from one extreme to the other and still be considered other words, no lasting effects that ruin your life.

brad ~ WELCOME! I hope you return often. I visited you also and laughed out loud at your "letters". especially the driving one. LOL How many times have I been thinking exactly what you wrote!

Now, I'm so glad to have your opinion on this post..yes, they ARE petty squabbles and I guess that's why I figured there was no love there because they are so frequent, but you made me just realize that they are SQUABBLES..not anything major...WOW...thank you! (slapping my forehead)...I really mean that.

SOUL: said...

interesting topic charlotte--
i guess ya just never know how it will be-- no set of siblings is the same in every way i don't think.
and when there are three it's even more different. then you have the two vs one parent thing-- and how those relationships are-- ya know?

anyhow-- i think -- well hell-- i don't know what i think.

but i've seen in my own relationship with my own siblings-- it is usually one extreme to the other-- very close or very distant.. or sometimes just the dutiful type thing. but we always know what it's about ya know?


happy valentines day.