Two Siblings and the Bond They Made

When I became pregnant with my second child, nearly overriding the joy and excitement was a spark of fear that sat in the pit of my gut: How would my son react? I knew it would tear me apart to know my son was jealous, to know he felt unloved or unwanted when his sister was born. I wanted them to be close.

I told him what an important job a big brother had. Even at age 2, he understood. He could read to his sister, sing to her, hold her, kiss her, hug her, love her.

He took those words to heart. From those early days, I could trust him alone while his newborn sister lay on the floor beside him. I’d stand outside his room and watch through the cracked door as he talked to her, read to her, stroked her foot. She gripped his finger. Their eyes met. She searched his face. I could nearly see the strength of their bond forming. I knew then it was something separate from me, an understanding between the two of them that would always be loving, hard, easy, complicated, like a delicate web constantly weaving itself back and forth every time they play, fight, laugh, and cry.

They have always been close and connected. He induced her first laugh. My husband was goofing off and then my son imitated him. My daughter kept a stone cold face as my husband leaped around the room, but when her brother did it, she let out a giant belly laugh. To this day, he can still bring forth that same laugh from her in a way no one else can.

Through the years, he has helped her get dressed, read her books, wiped her rear, and played countless hours with her. They snuggle together to watch TV when an entire couch extends to either side. They await Santa’s arrival under the same warm cover and whisper about the bounty they’ll find the next day.

As we walk through a park, they hold each other’s hands. At ages nine and seven, their days flow with routine and their seasons hold traditions. They have a system.

When one child doesn’t want to play, the other ends up in tears. The rejection stings like a scraped knee. She woke up ready to face the day with him. Most days they play, taking time to set up plastic figures just right and hours to play. Then they move on to the next thing. She’ll play Star Wars and he’ll play house.

They have taught each other to compromise and share, about self-control, and that sometimes the people you love hurt you. And they have taught each other about forgiveness.

They have learned to sympathize and empathize. They are still learning to stand up for themselves and pick their battles. They teach each other about the human spirit and kindness and giving up and giving in for someone you love. It’s the little things, like throwing a game so your sibling won’t cry, learning to admit you’re wrong without being told, and never staying angry for long.

They don’t like to admit it aloud, but they love each other. When one goes away for the night, they hug each other, unprompted. That’s what families do.

One day, they will learn that they are best friends too.

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37 Comments

Filed under I Love Those Darn Kids

37 responses to “Two Siblings and the Bond They Made

  1. The Yogic Housewife

    Beautiful, an awesome post x x

  2. This really touches my heart. My boys are going to be the best of friends too, I just know it. Last night, my baby boy was being fussy for my husband and me, while big brother was playing nearby with his dry erase board, and he took it upon himself to start teaching his baby brother about letters and numbers. His baby brother just stopped to listen to the wisdom of his big bro. And at one point, he said, “See, Ben, this is B and this is D. See how they kind of look alike? That’s because they’re in the same letter ‘family’ (air quotes included). They’re brothers, like you and me!”
    I need to do a post on this someday too, but I don’t think I could have said it any better than you have. Love it, and love to your precious babes. 🙂

    • It really is amazing to watch. When she was a baby, he certainly got frustrated but he took it out on me instead of her. I could never believe that. I think he saw early on that in her eyes, he was just IT, everything.

      • I’m seeing the same thing with my boys. It’s the most amazing thing, and it makes me so glad that we didn’t stop at one child. (Although we are so DONE. Two is plenty.) 😉
        Thinking back to my childhood with my sister, I remember distinctly the time when I outgrew the “playing” stage and wanted to be alone in my room, with music, and a pen and paper to write, or a telephone to chat with friends. And I remember the sadness in my sister’s face, and how it broke my heart as well, but not enough to keep playing My Little Ponies at the the age of 13 when she was 9 and still very much wanted her sister, her best friend. I love my sister dearly, but we are not best friends, not even close to what we were as children, and I feel it was my fault. I was the one who cut the string that attached us. It breaks my heart even more today than it did then. I’m hoping and praying that my boys will remain closer through those tough teenage years, as they are five years apart.

  3. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

    I am lucky enough to have a brother like that. We are still close. Always will be.

    • I hope it lasts. As he inches closer to not playing with toys, I see bits of heartache. And then will they survive high school? I worry.

      I’m glad to hear you and your brother are still close. Stories like that make me happy.

  4. Aw, and I hope they continue that bond through life! I always tell my kids that they will always be each other’s best friends – forever. I really hope it sticks (my own sibs keep me at arm’s length).

    • My sister and I certainly played together as kids but we had different interests. I was still playing with dolls when she was into boys. It wasn’t until we got older and left home that we became close. And no one else knows your history like a sibling!

  5. Big brothers are the best! Decades later, I still reap the benefits of loving big brothers. I want the same for our kids and it is a joy to watch the bond grow. I’m also glad my brothers did some un-loving things too, that way when I see sibling setbacks I can feel confident that the good outweighs the bad. Heck, if my son doesn’t stage a fake kidnapping of my daughter, they won’t even have as much “bad” to overcome. I think you might enjoy my post on siblings: http://definingmotherhood.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/sibling/

  6. Thank you for this post! I have a 2 year old daughter and I am 12 weeks pregnant. I have spent a lot of time worrying about how she will react to the new baby. She is very aware that she is the center of our life and 6 months from now she is going to have to share that spot. Reading your post made me feel relieved and hopeful for this big change in our lives. I hope my children will develop the same bond that yours have!

    • My son did have to adjust–and he was in the midst of his terrible twos when she was born. (One thing I quickly learned: crying babies can often wait. Toddlers who need hugs can’t.) Take lots of pictures. Those early years together are precious. My son could never wait for my daughter to wake from her nap. It was torture. He’d climb in her crib with her and they’d giggle. If only the monitor had a record button.

  7. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful post. That is so wonderful that they are each other’s best friends. Lovely writing about your lovely kids.

  8. Our son was 5 when our daughter was born and I will never, ever forget how he made her laugh anytime, anywhere. She remains his number one fan and he is hers, too. So happy that your children have each other.

  9. This is beautiful – well written and wise (just like you!). Thank you for sharing their story. I also hope my girls have a life-long friend in each other. I’ll take any suggestions you have!

    • They’re just two kids who clicked. They certainly have their moments, many moments, but sometimes there is nothing better than seeing your kids share a tender moment. We were at the beach this weekend and my daughter got tossed head over heels in the surf. It seemed like her rear was in the air for an eternity and when she came up, she was upset. My son, who of course got a good laugh first, rushed over to her and asked her if she was OK, put his arm around her, and then hugged her a few times. It’s moments like those when I wonder what happened to my son. There’s a sweet brother in there somewhere.

  10. Love this! I feel it’s so important to have that bond. We are trying for a second…would love to give our son the gift of a little brother or sister 🙂

  11. So beautifully written. My four now at least nearly-adults have formed wonderful friendships and I’m so glad. But you reminded me most of my youngest two. He was not quite two when little sister came along and had had me mostly to himself since his siblings were school-age by the time he came along. One day when I feeding her to put her down for a nap, he came in and sat beside me crying and said, “I want my mommy back”. Broke my heart. But he is the best big brother she could ever want. Thanks for the memory.

    • My son never said anything, but I do remember the look on his face in the hospital and it nearly broke my heart. A lot of people were in the room and we have a picture of him holding his sister. Just that look makes me want to cry every time I see it. He looks like he wants to cry. And it was the first time he was ever away from me. But he jumped right in to being a brother after that. He really was so little. I think when she started to smile at him, that really was it. He was hooked.

  12. This is so nice to read! We have one young daughter and are starting to think about #2, and I am scared to death. Even more scared than I was for #1, if that’s possible. But my brother is my best friend and all my greatest childhood memories are somehow tied to him. I want my daughter to have that and to have what you describe of your children. Damn! I guess I better get knocked up again…

    • Ha ha! It is so frightening to take that leap! I remember. My husband and I got to the point with our son where we thought, “If we don’t do this right now, we aren’t going to do it.” Things were just getting easier with him and we were already looking ahead to freedom–from diapers and sleepless nights. We wanted to go places. We seriously had to do it then or he would have been an only child. We just lucked out that our kids became friends, but honestly we are always together as a family. Sometimes too much. 😉

  13. This is a beautiful post. I’ve just discovered your blog and all of the posts I’ve read so far are so heartfelt and wonderfully written, but this one really caught my heart. I felt like I was reading about the relationship between my sister, my brother and me. There are only 2.5 years between my sister and me, but then another 9.5 between my brother (who is just starting univeristy) and me…But we’re all so close and every moment is shared – whether it’s special or just another day. Up until very recently, we would make sure to ‘camp’ in the same room on Christmas Eve, just to be together on that special night. Growing up our bond evolved and went through rough patches, but even with that, we just got closer and our friendship stronger. I’m far away from them now, but with emails, facebook (for my brother) and skype we still share all those moments, and when we’re together again, the happiness and laughter is overflowing.

    Thanks for this post, and they’ll definitely realize that they are best friends, even during those times when they get along a little less. I hope you and your family have a lovely weekend!

  14. What a beautiful post, and what a well timed read – I have two children already (a 6 year old son and 9 year old step daughter) but bringing my second biological child into the world in 3 short months, with such an age difference, has made me unbelievably nervous. I look forward to seeing them develop bonds with their baby brother, and further cementing the one they have with each other. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Thank you! I bet your kids are so excited to be having a little one soon. My kids love babies. One wonderful thing about their age is that they will remember the loving early moments with their new brother. Such a special time! Congrats!

  15. This brought tears to my eyes… I’m an only child myself so watching my two boys bond is something new for me. My kids are the best of friends also. One can only hope it stays this way. I’m also going to post about this sometime, but not sure if I can word it as well as you.

    • It’s been neat for both my husband and me because my husband is an only child and didn’t have the experience. I have a sister so seeing a brother and sister being so close was unexpected. I feared that just wouldn’t happen being the opposite sex.

      I know when you write your story from the heart, it will be beautiful!

  16. Oh my god it’s like reading story of my boys. They are four years apart my oldest begged for sister from when he was two. When I feel pregnant when started a new relationship I had huge fears as it had been me and him for 3 and half years. Yes six weeks into relationship I fell pregnant on the depro injection. So huge fears of him hateing having to share me. From day one he talked to my bump read to it sing to it kiss it goodnight. So when I found out I was having a boy at first he asked to swap are baby. But a lot of talking and explaining how it be supper cool to have brother and how he could help chose name. When son was born day one when he came saw him at hospital he refused to leave without his brother not mummy his brother. And when my relationship faild I walked in on Kai on my bed his brother lifted him out of dropside cot. Kierren-jack was telling Kai-Rhys how it’s ok he’s never had a daddy around but that they had me and they had each other. And now iv got two year old that listens more to his six year old brother then his mummy. But they are amazing together just like yours it’s lovely to read that other siblings are as loving as mine. Mind you I think partly due to good prep work and great loving parenting.

    • It’s wonderful to witness. As mine grow older, I fear they’ll grow apart. My son plays with toys less and less. But they still find ways to be with each other all the time. I’ve noticed he’s a bit more protective of her than he used to be, asking her if she’s OK (when he thinks I can’t hear). I do wonder sometimes if the bond starts before they have met, if it’s just in the older child’s mindset that that is how things are supposed to be because mom and dad said so. That or two siblings just got really lucky.

      Thanks for sharing your story. Beautiful.

  17. Awwwwwww! I hope they keep that bond through their teens.

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  20. Gede Prama

    Amazing and Thank you for writing which is quite good and best wishes always, and greetings

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