My daughter was two when my son was born, just a baby herself, really. She didn’t seem to love the new baby like I had hoped, but she didn’t seem to dislike him either. She basically treated him like furniture—something she would need to navigate around and do her best not to step on.
I really can’t blame her—he was a bit of an attention-hog those first few months. I wondered if she would ever develop a bond with him, or if he would always be viewed on par with the ottoman to her. I had imagined them wearing matching outfits, riding bikes together, and arguing over favorite toys, but she seemed disinterested in the new kid with sleep issues.
And then one day it happened, after months of indifference, I walked into the room to find her lying beside him, chatting about the latest episode of Bubble Guppies. He smiled and slobbered as she rambled on as only a two-year-old can do. Seeing this, I was certain my heart might actually explode. Since that day four years ago, they’ve been inseparable.
Last week as we drove home, my daughter began talking about a little boy who was mean to her. As she explained the situation and the injustice she’d suffered at the hands of this boy, I saw my son shift in his car seat to make eye contact with her. He was listening intently, his face twisting as she spoke. I started to tell my daughter how she might handle the situation, but before I was able to finish my sentence my four-year-old sternly announced he would be talking to this boy.
“What will you say to him?” I asked.
“I will tell him, he better leave my sister alone!” He said emphatically.
“I love you, Bubby,” my daughter’s voice came from the car seat next to him. And that was the end of it. She seemed at peace with this response and the support from her brother.
Again, I almost died right there. This type of sibling bond wasn’t something I was prepared for, but it has become one of my greatest joys as a mother. When they are apart they ask when the other will return. When one gets a lollipop from the doctor or candy at the checkout line, they ask if they can get one for the other. They sleep next to each other, play dress-up together, and push trucks and laundry baskets all around the house. Everything they do, they do together—it’s become an expectation.
Their imaginations are nearly seamless when they play make-believe, as though they are in each other’s minds. And for those wondering—yes, they bicker and fight just as passionately. They are no anomaly in that regard. But they are also quick to offer an apology and move along with their day. I’m constantly blown away by their love and admiration for one another, and I hope it sticks.
As a mother, I find comfort in their incredible bond, because I know they will always be there for one another, no matter what. There may come a day (read: high school, college, and other kid bullshit) when they do something they don’t want to tell me about, or they get themselves into trouble they don’t want to expose. In those moments, they will have each other. I’m really hoping one of them is level-headed and responsible in those situations, but we’ll cross that bridge when it’s on fire.
I never dreamed they would be this close. The love and respect they have for one another at such a young age is inspiring. I hope more than anything that it remains, and they always treat each other the way they do now.