My kids actually really like each other, but there are still fireworks from time to time. Not of the, "Oooh! Aaah!" type, but of the "Eeek. That sulphur makes my eyes water. And the noise makes my ears hurt." type.
More often than not, the blaze begins burning when one kiddo provokes the other. Lying under the surface of this friendship is a smoldering desire for life to be fair ("If he gets screen time, I want screen time, too."), a quest to be significant ("She always gets to sit next to you at dinner.") and a fear of being left out ("They're playing and they said I couldn't.") All it takes is one well-aimed poke with a stick and the flames lick up and sparks fly.
Gratefully, I am able to recognize that this is a natural part of growing up, living in close quarters and sharing a life together. With gentle shepherding and a lot of grace they will survive this season of life and their friendships will be stronger for it.
Kinda like these two little girls:
If you can imagine, my sister and I had some rather explosive interactions with each other as kids. Don't let those sweet smiles and freckled noses fool you. While we loved to play together, be it Barbies or Time-Travelling Hula-Hoops, we also knew how best to stoke up one another's insecurities. I, for one, remember a few heated arguments in which there was a mutual desire to hurt one another's feelings and fingers, if we could time the slamming door just right. No, indeed. There were times when the word, "peace-loving" would not have described our sibling-hood.
There is one incident in particular that I have yet to live down ... one afternoon when I definitely took advantage of my big-sister-ness and stoked the fire.
We had been sent to clean up our room. I'm sure it was in dire straights as we were both organizationally challenged as kids. One of us still is. (That would be me.) I'm sure that working was the absolute last thing that I would rather have been doing, so as I surveyed the mess before me, I came up with a game.
"Let's play Cinderella, Allie."
"Okay. What do we do?"
"Well, say like you're the princess, Cinderella. And I'm the wicked step-sister."
"As the wicked step-sister, I command you to clean up all the clothes on the floor."
"Okay. Now I command you to put all the books back on the shelf."
"Okay. What are you going to do?"
"I'm the wicked step-sister. I just have to sit here and tell you what to do."
"Good. Now it's time for you to make the beds. Except for this one I'm laying on. Do this one last."
"This is a lot of work."
"Yep. Being Cinderella is a hard job. But you're doing great."
"Can you help me with this comforter?"
"Nope. That's Cinderella's job."
"I think I'm done playing."
"Almost. All you need to do is clean up all the stuff on the closet floor. Get to it, Cinderella!"
"It's really messy in here."
"Yeah. Being a princess is hard work."
knock, knock, knock ...
"Hi, girls. How's it coming along? Your room looks pretty good."
"Thanks, Mommy! We're playing Cinderella! I'm Cinderella and Morgan's the wicked step-sister. She sits over there and tells me what to do. And I get to clean!"
"Excuse me? Uh, Morgan ... may I speak to you please?"
Not a shining moment as a big sister.
I'm so thankful that my baby sister has not held this against me (all these many years...) and that we enjoy a close friendship now. A friendship in which we don't stoke up hurts and sparks, but enjoy the warmth and peacefulness of sisterhood.
I love you, Sissy!
"Father, let my children make every
effort to do what leads to peace."
Prompt #5 ~ Share a story about a sibling. Joshua ... I guess you're off the hook. This week. :)