I have had the amazing experience lately of watching my girls. Something's changed.
Normally you would think of summer being filled with friends and fun. While I did my best to create fun times this summer, it would not be honest to paint any kind of rosy picture of what our summer looked like. I'm not entirely sure why, but that's another post to ponder. (and to ponder later - I'm still recovering from all the madness.)
We live in a great small town where kids can freely "roam" and play, and I don't really worry about their safety. The roads don't see a ton of traffic, there are no drive-by shootings or dealers on street corners. Everybody knows most everybody (except me, I don't know anyone). You'd think this would be a great recipe for hanging out with friends, but small towns also tend to be part of consolidated school districts and rural living so alas, most of my kids' friends don't actually live in our town. For the girls, they do have friends close by, but various circumstances and schedule conflicts prevented them from playing together very often. This, by default, left my girls forced to play with each other. They had to find companionship right here at home.
For someone who never had a sister, this sounds like a dream, but things haven't always been smooth between the two of them, mostly due to the odd jealousy of the older one. She didn't like being copied (idolized) or having to share her space (the air she breathed), her interests (anything girly), her tastes (right down to not having the same kind of fruit or sandwich at lunch), the color pink, or even her outgrown clothing. And she most certainly didn't want to have to play with her. Oh, the horror! I suppose this is the bi-product of the two-year age gap. But like it or not, there's a sister and she just had to get over it. We were constantly talking to her about their relationship and her (less than stellar) treatment of her younger sibling. I'm not sure if it ever made any difference.
Imagine my surprise when I would wake up summer mornings to hear them laughing together, before they were even out of bed. More and more often they would play games or dress-up, make up dances or whatever imaginary fun they were having, and there would be much less bossing around, much more camaraderie and sharing, and much, much more love. It has made my mama-heart swell to see my girls becoming friends. I love love love seeing that they enjoy being together, having their own special secrets, seeing kindness reciprocated, standing up for one another, and the list goes on. You're sisters for life. Isn't it so much better if you're friends, too?
If this is the one good thing to come out of this summer (ok, there was more than one good thing, but there were plenty of challenges that tipped the scales), then I would say this summer was a success. I realize that there may be ups and downs, as there are in any relationship, but to see the upside FINALLY come - basically for the first time - has been wonderful.
And in case you were wondering, my girls have deemed September 25th Annual Sisters Day, forevermore. Let the giggling and bad eyeliner sharing begin.