Monday, May 24, 2021

Sibling Love

Sibling love can feel so fleeting.

One minute my children are best friends, laughing with pure joy at whatever game they're playing. But in the next instant that can turn upside down, and suddenly their fun is riddled with "you're playing it wrong," "you're not the boss of me," and "I am NEVER playing with you ever again."

Little Blue-Eyed Baby is often at the heart of the kids' disagreements and ruined games. He's the baby of the family and, let's face it, the baby of the family gets away with murder. He steals toys, kicks down block towers, and generally instigates the older kids to retaliate. Which they usually do. And then he cries.

I try not to, but I often instinctively blame the older kids every time Blue-Eyed Baby cries, even when the baby is not entirely innocent. Of course this creates hard feelings, and there have been times when the older kids grumble that they wish they had never had a baby brother. 

When this happens I remember a typical morning at a park over a year ago, right before the world shut down over Covid 19. The bigger kids had a great time swinging, running in the grass, and shooting each other up into the air on the teeter-totter, while Blue-Eyed Baby, who wasn't even a year and half, toddled around after them. 

I noticed that there was a hole in the middle of the teeter-totter where a bolt was missing, but didn't think much of it. I stayed with Baby Blue Eyes while the other kids played, until my Brown-Eyed Girl, Kora, started crying that she had hurt herself. While I consoled her, the two older kids jumped onto the teeter-totter and immediately rocked it into the air.

Baby Blue Eyes started fussing. I looked over to see that his finger was stuck in the missing bolt-hole. I reached over to help him pull it out. 

And shrieked. 

The inner mechanisms of the teeter-totter had crushed my little boy's finger to the point where the tip was just barely hanging on. 

For the next several minutes I didn't pay attention to anything else as I clutched my whimpering baby to me, blood dripping on the sidewalk, and dialed 911. While the operator took what felt like an eternity to patch me through to the fire station, I staunched Baby Blue Eyes' blood with a diaper and tried not to lose it. As soon as the ambulance was on its way, I called Mr. Brown Eyes and told him to come RIGHT NOW.

Mr. Brown Eyes raced to the park from the store a couple of blocks away. He gathered Blue-Eyed Baby into his arms and rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital. 

That's when I turned to my other three children, all crying quietly on top of the jungle gym. 

At that moment, it didn't matter how many toys their baby brother had stolen from them or how unfair it was that I took his side every time he cried. Their little tear-stained faces told me how much they loved him and how worried about him they were. 

I held them close and we cried together. They said prayer after prayer that Baby Blue Eyes would be ok, and they spent the afternoon at their aunt's house making get-well cards for him. 

They were as relieved as I was when Baby Blue Eyes came home that night, freshly stitched-up and already back to his silly, spunky self. For the next two months he wore a sock on his hand to keep him from pulling his bandage off. 

I wish I could say that since that day they have treated each other with greater kindness and patience, but they're still kids. They have many years to find new things to fight about before they realize they can be each others' best friends. 

But I know, when it really comes down to it, that they care about each other. 

And as long as I remember that, their spats and arguments and "I'm never playing with you again" threats don't bother me as much.  

Sibling love outlasts all that. 

Especially when your little brother has super-powers in his finger. 

It could happen,

The Brown-Eyed Girl

No comments: