The gift of siblings

My two-year-old scooted close to me at the table.

Holding a pita chip freshly dipped in hummus in one hand, she pointed at her brother and sisters with the other.

“These are all my best friends!” she exclaimed proudly.

“We’re your best friends?” my 5-year-old son said, smiling.

“You’re all my babies,” she said in her cute 2-year-old voice.

The 5-year-old laughed. “We’re not all your babies,” he teased, “we’re all Mom’s babies!”

Kate giggled from her chair while taking a big bite of her grilled cheese.

“It’s true, you will always be my babies!” I commented. The 2-year-old gave me an approving nose-scrunch smile, and dropped her sippy cup on the floor with an, “Oops!”

My boy, still endeared by his little sister’s “best friend” comment went to pick it up for her.

“Here you go,” he said gently.

I pulled him in close, “That’s so nice,” I encouraged, “Thank you so much.”

“Thank you so much,” the 2-year-old effusively echoed, batting her eyelashes at her big brother. He reached in for a quick hug.

It was one of those moments where I take a mental snapshot, tucking it away to keep and treasure. These moments are fleeting of course. After all, they are 5 and 4 and 2 and 10 months old, these little ones. There are many inevitable squabbles and aggravations and bickers among them.

But in these sweet moments of peace and tenderness, I see a glimmer that they will continue to grow to become what I so hope for them: lifelong friends.

My Grandmother once wrote her children and grandchildren an email after a visit to see her on Mother’s Day. I still have it tucked away in my “saved” folder along with many emails from her.

After thanking us all for coming to visit, she said, “You see, it’s not that I interact that much, but having all of you puttering around and watching you enjoy each other and, at times, being silly. It makes my life worth living.”

I think about her words often when I watch my own little ones — puttering around, enjoying each other, being silly. The joy that I receive from their relationships with each other is something I hadn’t thought much about before having children and one that I delight in frequently. One that I work hard to continually nurture.

And I pray that these silly, unique, wonderful sibling relationships will be ones they’ll treasure forever — just as I treasure them.

“Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.”

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