Siblings Day: What My Children’s Relationship Has Taught Me

I asked my son, “Did you just burp in your baby sister’s face?” My son replied with a giggle. My daughter cooed. This is how their relationship as siblings started, and it’s only grown in love ever since. Today is Siblings Day and today, I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned from their relationship with one another.

They are truly each other’s best friend, and can be inseparable at times.

My son is now eight years old and my daughter is four years old. My son cares for his sister and looks out for her fiercely. My daughter has this deep belly laugh, most often because of her brother. They miss each other when the other one is gone at school or daycare. They cuddle when watching cartoons and movies. They create their own games. They have a connection that I can’t even try to describe.

Yes, they argue and fight. But it’s normally quick and can be redirected. We try to take the approach to have boundaries and general rules, but for the most part, we allow them to work through sibling arguments.

I never knew this is what a sibling relationship could look like.

I didn’t have this growing up. When I was born, I had three older half-siblings and I was the youngest. By the time I was one, my parents divorced, and I didn’t see those siblings anymore. I barely remembered what it was like to have siblings.

I enjoyed the only child life for a while. Then, my mom remarried, and soon my younger half-sister was born. We were seven years apart and I felt more like her mini parent than her sister. Another fun twist was that my step-dad also had an older daughter, so then I was bumped to being the middle child. Clearly, it was a struggle to find my identity based on sibling order with all of these changes.

I went to live with my grandparents around age ten and once again, was an only child.

Except this time, I was navigating that my mom and aunt were also people raised by grandparents and that created a weird friction at that level. Clearly, some family dynamics infringed on any chance of a “normal” sibling relationship in my childhood.

I also didn’t see many happy and healthy sibling relationships in my extended family or friends. It seemed like everyone could care less about their siblings or fought with them. I was beginning to think loving sibling relationships were like fairy tales and unicorns–made-up fantasies.

I was honestly nervous about having two kids.

What if my children didn’t like each other and fought all the time? What if my first-born hated my daughter? How would I handle two children fighting constantly? My own children opened my eyes without even meaning to do so. Their love, care, and kindness for one another touches my heart and soul. It’s incredible how children teach you so much about yourself and the world.

My children’s sibling relationship offered a new perspective of what could be. They help me believe in love for one another at a very raw and real level.

Their relationship helped heal old sibling wounds. As they forgave each other, I began to evaluate that maybe I was harboring hurts against my siblings that I could be working to mend. I like to practice what I preach to my children. If I’m telling them to apologize or to extend kindness, perhaps I should be modeling that as well. 

Their relationship has been the catalyst for me reconnecting with my own long-lost siblings.

There was a time in my life that I never thought I would reconnect with my half-siblings from my father’s side. Those first messages sent on Facebook came flooded with emotion. It is incredible to connect with someone in the world that also slightly looks like you. There is something powerful in those shared family genes and history.

Seeing my children’s love and connection with one another is a blessing from motherhood I never anticipated. I always tell my children, “You guys are each other’s longest relationship.” I want them to cherish this built-in support system they have. Maybe it’s living together through a pandemic that made them even closer, but every day, I’m thankful they have each other.

I’d love to hear from you on Siblings Day! Are you close to your siblings? Were you closer to your siblings as a child or adult? Did the pandemic make your children closer? How do you navigate sibling arguments?

Are you navigating sibling relationships as an only child? You’ll want to read what Stacy has to say about the topic in her post!


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