Posted in Life Writing, Saturday's Share...

Saturday’s Share: Summertime Sibling Smiles

Caption: Annalise and Jeremiah, at Unschoolers Rock the Campground 2, Plymouth, MA, July 2010.

 Sharing reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!


I snapped this picture as dusk fell, and the beach was closing at the Pinewoods Campground. The children and I were ending our first full day at Unschoolers Rock the Campground, a day they spent mostly in the lake, exploring natural swimming: and on the beach, making sand art and new friends.

I love this picture…Miah so big and solid, an anchor for Lise’s impish twinkle peeking out from beside him.

Even with a lake, a beach, and the campground beyond, even with many other available playmates, they still choose to spend much of their time like this – together, being just who they are.

They aren’t just brother and sister. They are good friends.

It doesn’t only make for fantastic and beguiling pictures, it also makes for a very pleasant and happy home environment (not to mention making four days of the three of us sharing one tent much sweeter than they might be, otherwise!).

We’re getting ready for our fourth trip to Rock the Campground. Thursday, we traveled, the three of us, to Jellystone Park, in the Catskills. Another lovely day, time with friends, and much play and togetherness, and just a bit of friction.

Friday, things moved more slowly, post-adventuring, and so they’ played Minecraft together, watched Total Drama Island and Goosebumps on Netflix; cleaned their guinea pigs’ cage, and gave them a bath and a swimming lesson in the tub.

They had the whole house, and the yard. They have their own rooms. And they hung out happily together, nearly all day, in the living room.

I didn’t have this type of ease and comfort with my three siblings when we were children.

Today, I am estranged from two of my own siblings. It seems to be the best way to maintain peace. Ironically, I get along best with my older brother, with whom I was not close in childhood.

I think it’s because he and I have learned, with much trial and error, to relate in a way a lot like the way my children do naturally – with an acceptance that we are not the same, that we value different things, and that we move differently through our own lives.

We accept that, and enjoy what we can of one another. We forgive missteps and mistakes, and focus on what is good. We don’t make assumptions. Sometimes we say hard things because we need to, or we hear them because the other needed to say them. We do it in love, and with respect, and with kindness.

Living with my children is a very different experience than what I imagine my parents experienced. There is a calm and joy here. Yes, sometimes they are at odds. They will argue, and still aren’t always willing or able to hear each other’s side of a dispute. Rarely, names are called. Once in a great while, someone will take things to a physical level.

When this happens, I intervene suggesting that they give themselves space. That usually allows hearing both sides of the story, separately, and privately. Then I help them to a place of calm where they can negotiate a peaceful settlement that is mutually equitable (“mutually equitable” is a concept we are exploring in great depth, these days, and it has led to a deeper awareness of the fact that every issue has more than one side). Once things settle, we often talk about ways we might have made the situation better, or avoided conflict.

And then, we move on. We do not punish or take things away, because we see the disagreements as a part of living, and it’s our hope that we can give them interpersonal and conflict resolution skills now, that we, their parents are only learning now, in our 40’s.

My parents often yelled at and punished us for fighting, arguing, stealing from one another, and calling names. I I imagine they spent a lot of time exhausted and frustrated at what must have seemed an endless need for law enforcement. We were six people in a smallish house, and there was little opportunity to be alone. My mother believed that sharing rooms was good for us, and would teach us how to get along with one another.

Maybe that is a part of it…with much free time, with help in getting along, without being penalized when things get a little hairy, there is room to learn and grow, to love and enjoy each other, have conflict, and, with very little fuss, get back to the sweeter parts of living…

Do you have siblings, and/or multiple children? Have you noticed similarities or contrasts between your sibling relationships, and theirs? Do you have ideas on why this is so?

Impressions to share about this Saturday’s post?

Feel free to drop a comment, image file, or link into the receptacle below – I love sharing, especially when others share about themselves!

Author:

I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

2 thoughts on “Saturday’s Share: Summertime Sibling Smiles

  1. Love the post, Shan. My sisters are my best friends (well, 5 of the 7 are). I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. Its wonderful that your children are such great friends.

    1. Suzanne,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      My sister and I have had many difficulties, and, for now, at least, they seem insurmountable. On the other hand, Eden Mabee has been like a sister to me since we were 9. She knows and understands me better than my sister, and so I feel blessed.

      I love watching my children together. What they have is deep and wonderful, and a lot of fun to be in the presence of. =)

      And, my, you have a lot of sisters! =)

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