The first time your baby smiles at you, the first laugh, kiss, hug, becoming a mom is chock full of all kinds of heartwarming moments. Their excited greetings upon seeing you after you’ve been gone only a couple hours, watching them sleep, the list is endless. It’s all so joy-filled that sometimes it feels like your heart may explode from the beautiful agony of bearing witness to this little life that is in your hands.
The moments I mention are typical milestones that make the hearts of most parents flutter, but there is a moment I don’t hear a whole lot about that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing recently: witnessing the growing relationship between my 4-year-old daughter and her nearly 2-year-old brother.
Perhaps the lump in my throat when observing this strengthening bond is because Violet was not exactly thrilled about Henry’s arrival. She expressed a cursory curiosity and then concerned herself with more important things, namely, stop messing around with that kid and play with me! And it wasn’t so much that she ignored him — that actually would’ve been preferable to an annoyance that manifested itself in her frequently lashing out at the poor, defenseless babe.
When he was old enough to toddle into her area of play and abscond with one of her toys she would palm his little noggin and spike it to the hardwood floor, much like a football player upon successfully reaching the end zone with the ball.
It isn’t until very recently that the two have actually begun to play together and the banner of rapture that unfurls in my heart each time I bear witness could rival the Grinch’s big moment on Christmas.
I looked back in the car the other day to see them reaching across the middle seat from their respective car seats to hold hands.
I was watching TV as Violet led Henry past me to show him something very important in the coat closet.
I hid behind the door and listened to them playing “Castle” with Henry’s latest Christmas present. “Guard the bridge!” and “Hi dragon, I’m a knight. How are you? I’m good, want to play?”
Yes, there are full-blown conversations between the two now. In the past month I was witness to several intense discussions about Santa Claus, his reindeer, and exactly when the big guy was coming to town.
Henry: Santa Claus is coming to town.
Violet: No Henry. No. Not yet. Four more days and then Santa comes to town. He’s still at the North Pole.
Henry: Norf Pole?
Violet: Yes. He’s still getting ready with elves. And Rudolph!
The thrill of teaching my child to talk and walk was fully expected but these particular moments of parental nirvana are entirely unexpected on my part. I never imagined I could experience such rapture over the growing relationship between my children. But now I am filled with wondrous expectation of future moments.
There will be fighting, to be sure. In fact, I reckon there will be fights so ugly they’ll take my breath away in much the same way as this joy I’m feeling over their budding relationship does. But there will also, fingers crossed, be those moments when sister sticks up for brother or brother defends sister.
Here, I was so self-centered, selfishly focusing and exalting in my relationships with my children and not their relationship with each other. Granted, I am not entirely to blame as the relationship has been non-existent until recently. Which reminds me to impart the few words of wisdom rolling around in my head; those of you whose children immediately bonded upon meeting, those who are the proud parents of “little mothers,” (toddler girls who love their baby siblings from the get-go) bask in those moments because they certainly don’t come easy for everyone. Up in our place it was a long time coming.
Here’s to sibling love:
Read more from Monica on Babble:
- Hank’s Hair: Evolution and Termination of the Mullet
- The 15 Hardest Things About Raising A Toddler
- What Were They Thinking?! The Most Age-Inappropriate Toddler Gear