Friday, April 27, 2012


As a young child I often fantasized about having a sister.  In fact, I probably took things a little far when my baby brother, Todd, came home and I insisted on calling him Susan.  I could see that wasn't going to change things so I developed an imaginary friend and called her Susan. We spent lovely hours in the backyard together.

I came to love my position as first born with two younger brothers. Having brothers has defintely helped me mother my own boys.

However, I had no idea how much I was going to love being the mother of daughters. Our girls were born 26 months apart.  I loved dressing them in coordinating outfits, getting them matching dolls, putting them in the double stroller and listening to people go ga-ga over their cuteness.

 This is the day Laurel was born!
 EEK! They're so cute!
Halloween princesses!

Kiley and Laurel don't remember a time when there wasn't the other.  They often shared the same bed even though it wasn't necessary and when they were very small they referred to each other as "Sister".  When hearing one of them call to the other, "Sister, come here,"  Lee and I would almost burst from smiling.

I  have enjoyed seeing their personalities develop. They are so similar in some ways, and completely opposite in others. They both enjoy music, theater and reading. Kiley, who is older, is more of an introvert and sometimes prefers to stay in the background. She definitely needs her 'alone' time.  Laurel is a people person and can get mopey if she doesn't see her friends on a regular basis. Not much intimidates Laurel and she enjoys trying new things. Kiley, on the other hand, needs time to think about doing things.

For instance, when we taught Kiley to ride a bike without training we were visiting my parents.  Every present adult kept offering advice to her. We tried everything from running alongside her to pushing her from behind. Finally, I asked all of the adults to back off. I gave Kiley two simple instructions: how to steer and how to stop.  Then we all went inside. You see, Kiley likes to be able to do things well the first time.  I knew there was going to be some screaming and yelling but that eventually she was going to ride that bike. We all looked out 15 minutes later to see her riding that bike up and down the street with a beautiful smile on her face.

Teaching Laurel to ride a bike sans training wheels was an adventure! We had just moved to a parsonage house that was in the church parking lot so she had lots of wide open space to take off. As I was giving her instructions she just took off, shrieking with delight. "I am doing it, I am doing it!" she was shouting. Unfortunately, she hadn't stuck around to hear how to stop. Before I knew what her plan was she crashed into our fence. Worried, I ran to her, but she popped up and said, "I did it!"  I explained how to use the brakes on the bike and she explained that's what the fence was for.  For a week she would crash into any stationary object in order to halt her bike - trees, curbs, fences, me, parked cars, or fellow bike riders.

I love that their differences compliment each other, which can make them quite the dynamic duo.

I never dreamed I would be so privileged to watch baby girls grow into young women.  The icing on the cake is that they (mostly) enjoy the company of one another. It is such a blessing to stand outside their door, while they fix hair and try on clothes, and hear their happy chatter. The happy chatter of friends. I remind them every day that they are more than sisters; that God has surely put them with each other for a purpose and, as iron sharpens iron, they will benefit in so many ways from their relationship.

 Having fun with the webcam in their room last year.

One of my daily prayers (one among many) is that they would grow a true friendship. I pray that for all of our children.  In an age when sibling rivalry, even dislike, is accepted as the norm I am fighting the current with prayer.  We also let them work their arguments out on their own, only interceding when punches are thrown. We don't let them go to bed angry at each other, and name calling is considered the same as cursing around here. We make every effort not to pit the children against one another by always reminding them of the fact that they are siblings, not parents. If they are getting bossy with each other I say, "Who are you?"  and the girls know to answer, "The sister."  We also try to send them on regular 'Sister Day Out' excursions; be it dropping them at the library, movies, or an empty field, we want them to enjoy time together. (I've never really dropped them at an empty field, only threatened it when they are using high-pitched voices to argue).  

So what do you do to strengthen your kids relationships?


  1. Beautiful! I had a similar experience only with sons :-) They were often mistaken for twins even though they are two years apart (it was the twin stroller and the matching outfits.)

    They've always been such a pair that it really saddened me when they went through a bit of sibling rivalry, but that has mostly passed and they are two peas in a pod again!

  2. Missing those sweet girls!! And you!! XOXO

  3. I have always loved hearing your thoughts on sibling relationships. We definitely do not allow name calling in our home, either, and I don't know that I really put a lot of thought into that until I heard that rule from you. I didn't have to deal with sibling relationships yet, so I was glad to hear that before it became a problem.

    To try to encourage relationships, we try to help our kids understand their differences and to appreciate them for it. I think that so many relationship problems start when people think everyone else should be just like them (hey, I do it, too!). So, when there's a difference in preference, we try to help them know that they are different people and that's a good thing.

  4. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to keep resentment out of the relationship between my son and daughter. For instance, my daughter once wanted to go to the carnival and ride the rides, but I had nobody to watch my infant son. Rather than say that we couldn't go "because of brother," I explained that it just wasn't a good time to go. Throughout their lives I've avoided using either sibling as a reason that we are missing out on anything. Now at 12 and 9, they are the best of friends and rarely ever fight. It's a beautiful thing.