Siblings aren’t easy. I can attest to this personally, because I have SEVEN of them. Siblings can be pretty confusing too: they’ll defend you to death on the playground and turn around and slug you the second no one is looking, all the while curse-whispering out of the corner of their mouth about their deep regret at your ever having been born.
Siblings are weird that way but, chances are, if you have one, you’re probably (maybe?) glad you have one lying around for a rainy day when no one else remembers your name.
I don’t remember the point at which I became friends with any and all of my siblings, but I remember very specifically forming a solid alliance with my brother just older than me. It was around 7th grade for me, 8th grade for him, and once we passed the threshold into friendship we never looked back. Middle school became tolerable, and High School was flat out fun with my brother around. We double-dated and went to prom in the same group of friends. We rarely did anything social apart from one another and hung out for hours in either one of our bedrooms having independent existential crises while listening to Morrissey.
You can imagine my excitement then, when my daughter was 4 and my husband and I discovered I was pregnant with a son. I couldn’t wait for my two kids to enjoy the kind of sibling relationship my brother and I shared. It was pretty disheartening for me for the first (almost) decade wherein my children took turns trying to drown each other in the tub and choke each other when my back was turned, all when they weren’t busy kicking and punching one another in the back of the car driving anywhere.
All of a sudden though, out of nowhere one day about 6 months ago, these two siblings who are a full 5 years apart in age and formal mortal enemies, became friends. Haltingly in the beginning, then more and more surely as they realized sabotage wasn’t imminent. Instead of screaming volleying from the recesses of their bedrooms as they normally did before falling asleep each night, I would hear one bedroom door open and another close, immediately followed by muffled giggling sounds. I hardly dared breathe for fear of disrupting whatever happiness bubble had tentatively enveloped them, but day after day their friendship grew.
This treatise may be temporary or wax and wane as natural friendships do, but siblings are forever and, for the time being at least, my children have reached a greater milestone (to me, anyway) than any of the other childhood milestones put together.