My kids have always been best friends. Our son Stephen was a little over 17 months old when our daughter Adele was born, and from the first day he always looked out for her. Of course they have had their moments when they swear they never want to see each other again, but what sibling pair doesn’t have moments like that? The first time they spent the night in different houses we were visiting my in-laws. Adele was invited to spend the night at her cousin Jasmyn’s house and Stephen stayed with us at Ian’s parents. That night Stephen confessed to me that he couldn’t sleep because he missed Adele so much.
Before Adele was able to speak for herself, Stephen was her interpreter. If he thought she need a new diaper, or was hungry, or sleepy, he always let us know. Stephen never had an imaginary friend; he didn’t need one because until she learned to talk, he had Adele. One of my mom’s favorite stories to tell the kids is the time Stephen went up the her and said, completely straight-faced: “G’amma Kim, ‘del wants me to have a cookie.” Adele was Stephen’s imaginary friend.
Since Stephen was born, Ian and I have worked opposite shifts so we did not have to put the kids in daycare. Not that I have anything against daycare; we had low-paying retail jobs and simply couldn’t afford it. After a while we got so used to working opposite shifts that it just made sense to keep it up. We had a drop-in daycare center we would use for the short overlap in the afternoons when we both had to work, but for the most part our kids didn’t spend a lot of time with other kids their age. Up until Stephen entered first grade, if you asked either of them “Who is your best friend?”, they would name their sibling. Even now that they are both in middle school and have their own best friends, they are still very close.
Today Adele brought home an assignment she had done last semester for Language Arts class (or, as we called it when I was in school a million years ago, “English”). The assignment was to write an RDF paragraph* on the topic of her choosing. She chose the topic “Why I love my brother.” With her permission, I’d like to share it here:
I love my brother. One reason I love him is that he plays with me. We play Magic** in the living room. Another reason I love my brother is that he helps me clean my room. He picks my laundry off the floor. Last of all, he compliments my pictures. Yesterday he said, “Nice rabbit.” I wish I had more brothers like him.
My heart=exploded. That is all.
* If you don’t know what an RDF paragraph is, please refer to my blog about my experience sitting in on my daughter’s 6th grade English class
** She does not mean the making-things-disappear, pulling-rabbits-out-of-hats-and-pigeons-out-of-sleeves, guessing-which-card-you-picked-even-though-you-stuffed-it-in-your-pocket-right-away-and-hey-how-did-he-pull-it-from-behind-your-ear-when-you-never-even-took-your-hand-out-of-your-pocket-that’s-amazing kind of magic. She’s talking about the card game Magic: The Gathering. Hey, we’re a family of nerds; what did you expect?