Siblings and Their Love/Hate Relationship

Josh and Meg, best frienemies

No one can make Meg laugh like her big brother Josh.  He knows just the thing to say to make her crack up, and Meg can do the same to Josh, too.  Sometimes I believe with my whole heart that they are best friends.  Then, only two minutes later, I'm convinced that they are their own biggest enemies.  Siblings.

When Meg was a newborn, Josh was the one who made her laugh out loud for the first time in her life.  He made faces at her while my mother gave her a bath.  Her giggle was so cute and so husky that he was totally amused and kept doing it again and again.  His sister obliged every single time, and this went on for a very long time that night.

I never noticed any sibling jealousy which I was concerned about when Meg came along.  Josh kissed my tummy when Meg was still inside, and he helped me around the house after her birth by handing me a clean diaper when it was time for a change.

They began to play together in earnest when Meg started walking.  Josh was really into the animated film "Tarzan" at the time, and Meg's hair growth made her look like Tarzan's sidekick Turk.  He called her his best friend.

From about age two, Meg began competing with her brother (cue "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" from the musical Annie Get Your Gun) -- Josh hops up, Meg hops up.  Josh puts a plate on his head, Meg puts a plate on hers.  He laughs, she laughs.  He swims, she swims.  It was all cute and very friendly.

Then Meg became more assertive.  One day, when Josh was at preschool, Meg got into his bag of candies in the family room.

"I eat one," she said as she sat with her legs crossed and the bag on her lap.

"I eat some," she continued, as she grabbed a few more pieces out of the bag.

I was busy doing something in the kitchen, but the next moment I looked up, Meg sat with her mouth quite full.

"I leave Joshy some," she promised, although I found it difficult to believe that she had much self-control.

"I leave Joshy one," she said, as she pointed her finger up for emphasis.

A minute later, she got up, threw the empty bag in the air, and exclaimed, "All gone!" as she ran away. She was way too cute for me to get mad.

As I suspected, there were some tears and screaming upon his return from preschool later that day.  He still brings it up from time to time.

This love/hate relationship still continues today.  Most of the time, I notice that Josh looks out for his sister, particularly at school.  Being only two grades ahead of his sister, Josh is always filling her in on what's ahead: "So Mrs. so-and-so is a hard teacher," or "Don't go to the school dance.  It's totally boring."  Because they have different interests and all, Meg may not always follow his advice (and sometimes, she just wants to spite him).  Nonetheless, I know Meg appreciates Josh, and he his sister.

When they are fighting, I often tell them, "When Daddy and I are gone, you only have each other, so you need to learn to get along!"  Most of the time, they only stare at me for a few seconds then go back to their argument.

My mom and her brothers -- they only had each other after their parents died.

I don't think they comprehend that statement quite yet, but someday they will.  I pray that the day won't come too soon like it did for my mother and her brothers when they lost both parents during WWII.  They were only 16, 14, and 10, around the same ages as my kids right now. In spite of their occasional sibling rivalry, I'm glad that Josh and Meg have each other.

I agree wholeheartedly with these words from Psalm 133:1-3 (MSG):

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
   It's like costly anointing oil
      flowing down head and beard,
   Flowing down Aaron's beard,
      flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
   It's like the dew on Mount Hermon
      flowing down the slopes of Zion.
   Yes, that's where God commands the blessing,
      ordains eternal life.

Do your kids get along?  What's your secret?


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