From the time they could recognize each other, my small people have been aware of Rule #1 in our house:
PROTECT EACH OTHER.
My younger brother and I are only two and a half years apart and we have never been close. We are, in fact, so very different, it is often difficult to imagine we were raised in the same family. I am incredibly proud of him, of all he has become (he’s a brilliant chef and just opened a brand new restaurant in NYC if you are in the area or might be visiting) and the husband he is to his wonderful wife. But it doesn’t change the fact that we weren’t close when we were 7 and 5, or 13 and 11, or 21 and 19. And not now.
And I want something different for my small people. I know I can’t control their personalities, but I do everything I can to nurture their desire to protect each other.
So far, it is working. Don’t get me wrong – they FIGHT. They are unkind to each other. They name-call and push. But they also hold hands and have tender nick-names for each other. They let the other ‘go first’ and sacrifice desserts to give to each other. When they say prayers at night, they often compliment the other’s performances on the soccer field, on a test or just playing in the backyard.
They are PROUD of each other. And good heavens – just let another kid say something mean – they are the FIRST to jump to the defense of one another.
Now… I know I can’t predict the future and maybe they won’t always stay close, but for now…
I believe in Sibling Love and nurturing their need to protect each other.