Siblings

siblings

When I was pregnant with my youngest, I automatically assumed my girls would be immediate and consistent best friends. I have a brother and we weren’t overly close growing up. I thought it was more because he was a boy and I was a girl. Because of this, I wanted a sister so badly. A built in best friend. That’s what sisters are or must be, right? I didn’t know any different, so I assumed incorrectly.

Having the same mom and dad doesn’t automatically equal friendship. Just like being coworkers or neighbors doesn’t. I never knew. Just because I’m the type of person that wants to be friends with each and every person I meet, I naturally assume others feel the same way. Why not siblings?

My girls are very different. Five years apart, different interests, different body types, different temperaments, different personalities. As are my brother and I. Expecting them to be close is a set up for my own disappointment. They may be friends one day. And sometimes they appear to be. But, they will always be sisters. They can choose their friends, but they are bound by blood. If this is all they have in common, so be it. But, those rare moments when they act like they actually like each other, warm my heart and soul.

Never in a million years did I expect my girls to argue and annoy each other like they do. It’s pretty constant…..So much so, I’ll tell them my ears are bleeding from the incessant fighting. So, I pray. I pray for their hearts individually and towards each other. After all, that’s all I can do. I’ll separate and discipline them when necessary, but just like I can’t MAKE someone like me, I can’t MAKE them like each other.

I thought they would love to sleep together when they got old enough. Last night was the first time they voluntarily did. I was so thankful! In the past, one or the other always refused. Once my oldest finally agreed, the youngest decided she didn’t want to, probably out of spite. After that exchange, I was convinced it would never happen. Then, last night…I made sure they knew how much it meant to me this morning. My oldest said, “It’s not that big of a deal, Mom.” The kindness, the closeness, the mutual agreement on anything. When it is hard to come by, it’s a very big deal.

Brothers and sisters may not be best friends and that’s okay. If you have a brother or sister that is, wonderful!! Being a sibling happens at birth. Friendship is a choice. May your friends complement you and lift you up. May they encourage you when you’re down. May they make an effort to meet you where you are and remind you of how special you are when you forget. This is my prayer for my girls. They may or may not have that friendship with each other one day. Either way, may God fill their lives with friends that do. And, may they learn how to respect each others differences. May they love each other in spite of them. And, may they know how much I love them both. They don’t have to be friends, but they will always be sisters. And, that is irreplaceable too.

Raising kids is a whole new world. People can tell you, you can watch others, you can read books, you can take tips, but until you experience it, you just don’t know.

 

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Hashing Out the Holidays

holidays

After living through it as a child and as an adult, I have no doubt why God hates divorce. And, it becomes all the more evident over the holidays when sentimentality and family time is planned around, planned for, and deemed most precious. That being said, I also know God hates abuse and infidelity. God hates selfishness and pride. And, because of these traits, divorce is imminent in this fallen world.

Hashing out the holidays with my ex is always painful. Who wants to share kids on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning? No one!

Being a child of divorce, I’m well aware of the scheduling that goes into seeing everyone. We have multiple homes to visit and presents to open, along with mass quantities of food to consume. All blessings! I’m the type who wants to be everywhere with everyone I love….all the time. But, the schedule can get tight at times. And, we still want to make time for the personal Christmas with our spouse and kids. That’s hard enough married, but throw my own divorce in the mix and I just can’t do it. Well I can, but not with my kids. It’s painful and, no doubt, the hardest time of the year for most divorced parents. We want to celebrate the season, but without our children, there is a fog that’s hard to lift. There is definitely something (someone) missing.

Thank God for family to celebrate with. Thank God for children to buy for. Thank God for a family who understands my situation. Thank God for places to be. Help me, Lord, with patience and the aching heart that comes along with absent children at each and every event where I crave their presence. So much more than their presents.

This year, I want to focus more on peace than fighting. I’d rather give too much than fight one more day. I’d rather know my kids are loved at both homes and give up time if necessary, than argue over going back and forth. I’d rather forego family traditions on my end than stubbornly fight to uphold them if all it causes is chaos and stress. I’ll make new ones. New ones full of peace, love, and sacrifice. And, I’ll also stand by the fact that it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

I will once again grieve the old and embrace the new. I will choose peace. Isn’t that why Jesus came as a baby anyway? Peace. I choose to lay it down and let it go…

If this post leaves you with anything, I hope it emphasizes the importance of presence over presents. When you are loved and not present, you are gravely missed. Once again, looking forward to the day we can all be together…..all the time. Happy, healthy, and whole.