My daughters, who are 3 years apart, have a beautiful close relationship that has been strong pretty much from the beginning. K-Girl didn’t experience much jealousy when it came to bringing her new sister home. I remember talking to her about it a lot before the actual day, and I remember telling her, “you don’t have to automatically love, or even like, this new baby. But you do have to be gentle and nice.” She was 2 months shy of her 3rd birthday when R was born. I think that telling her there were no expectations regarding her feelings, helped her little mind to process and feel okay with whatever uncomfortable things she may have been feeling.
I can remember this time when K-Girl was in play school, she had gotten photos done through the program. This was was just before her 5th birthday. When I showed R that photo, she clung to it all morning while we did our errands, not letting go until we had picked K up from play school again. There was a strong attachment early on.
K-Girl read earlier than we had been expecting. I remember so clearly this time when K-Girl was 5, so R was 2, they are sitting together in our tiny living room of the townhouse we used to live in. They sat in our Ikea chair over by the window. And K-Girl was reading to her from this book about the human body. It was the Usborne First Encyclopedia of the Human Body (I still have it) and she was reading to R about babies. “Sometimes, babies are born too early. Early babies need special care. This baby is being kept warm in a box called an incubator.” It’s this beautiful memory I have of them, together, one of the first times K is reading something more than a “baby” book to her sister, and a glimpse of many more experiences to come.
Even a year ago, when K-girl was 11, I thought that perhaps the girls were getting a little tired of being around each other so much, and so I suggested that each girl go in a different vehicle to give them some space while Sean and I ran separate errands. K proclaimed, “But I just want to be with her.”
Yesterday, K had a lot of things to bring in from her sleep over, and without any prompting, R asked her big sister, “do you want help bringing in your stuff?” And today after school, K picked up a treat from the vending machine for her R, making sure it didn’t have wheat or dairy due to sensitivities that R has.
R has a more difficult, anxious, emotional temperament. Many adults don’t understand how to talk or deal with her, yet K is so great at navigating R’s particular personality and diffusing or deescalating situations with her.
I’m not saying that my girls never bicker… They do sometimes. And it’s true that sometimes they do get annoyed with each other. But for the most part, they just get along. They enjoy each others company. They have a good time with each other. They hug each other often still and they make it known in their ways that they love and care for each other.
It’s no secret that K is in a transition time of her life. She is 12.5, she doesn’t play quite as often, she is focused on her studies, and she spends a bit more time away from home. I think this has been the hardest on R, who doesn’t quite get it yet, and just wants things to be as they always have been. Despite this, they continue to have a deep bond with each other. It is a bond that I admire. And a bond I don’t think anything can break.
There is so much beauty and light between them, in the relationship they have with each other. What gratitude I feel to know that they will always have each other.