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Siblings – The gift that keeps on giving

May 22, 2018 11:52AM

By Stacy Turner

Now that summer has begun and the kids are out of school, we’ll be spending a lot of time together.  Most of the time, I really enjoy hanging out with my kids.  They make me laugh more than anyone else I know, often without meaning to.  For example, when my youngest daughter mentioned a mistake her teacher had made during class that day, and I asked her if she mentioned it to him.  She was positively shocked.  “No way, mom! He’s a giant!”  To clarify, to my vertically challenged daughter, most people are taller than she is.  That said, this particular teacher towers over most mere mortals, and her gut reaction really cracked me up.  (For the record, he’s a nice man, even though he does look like he wrestles bears in his free time.)

Often, it’s just the silly things my kids do because they’re in a goofy mood, or just trying to get my husband or me to laugh.  They’ll sing along to a song on the car radio, making up new words to go along with what we’re doing, or what they’d rather be doing.  Sometimes, one of them will belt out a random pop song, and without missing a beat, the other jumps in seamlessly with the refrain or perfectly timed background melody.  It’s times like these I treasure, where the two-part harmony is sweeter than any I’ve heard from top-ranked music acts.

Now I’m not claiming that they don’t have their moments of being extra salty or snippy to each other or to my husband and me.  We’ve certainly had our fair share of those moments, as well, as tensions rise, hormones flair, and hunger or lack of sleep kicks in.  But mostly, I see my girls pulling together, in both hilarity and helpfulness.  Like the time I took a little too much time in the grocery store, and they ended up making their own short movie debut -- directed, filmed and starring the two of them, with a cameo appearance by a gallon of chocolate milk and some random extras who happened to be shopping at Aldi’s that day.

And even though they have their own spats over whose turn it is to do which chore, or whose fault it was that something happened, I know they have each other’s backs.  Like the time when my younger daughter’s frenemy gave her a nasty, back-handed compliment and my older daughter immediately came to her aid with a sarcastic barb that shushed the snotty girl in her tracks.  Because everyone knows, even though we can be mean to our own siblings, heaven help that random kid that tries to make our little sister cry.

I recently read a study that claims that having a sister may be good for kids’ emotional health. The year-long study noted that adolescents who had younger or older sisters were less likely to experience loneliness, guilt, or feel unloved compared to those without sisters.  The report claimed having a loving sibling makes kids more charitable than having loving parents, because sibling influence matters in unique and different ways.  The study also noted the benefit of the typical arguments among siblings, since fights give kids the ability to learn how to identify and handle their emotions, especially since siblings are so skilled at pushing each other’s buttons.

In a random discussion with my youngest daughter, she complained about how we celebrate moms on Mother’s Day, dads on Father’s Day, and even grandparents have their own day for special gifts.  But there’s no kids day -- and birthdays didn’t cut it, since moms, dads, and grandparents all have those, too.  Now I have a scientifically proven response for her.  The greatest gift we can give our kids is each other.  And even if some days they may want to exchange it, God-willing, it’s a gift that will keep on giving, long after we’re gone.

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