I remember when EJ was first born and the seemingly massive gap of almost three years between the two boys; wondering how it might ever be possible for them to one day be friends and partners in crime. The difference between a baby and a pre-schooler is massive – their needs so varied. Yet within a relatively short period of time EJ has grown up to the point where he is now a school boy himself at the tender age of four – and both boys now attend the same school two years apart.
I am their primary carer so I spend the most amount of time with them and I get to witness the whole gamut of their sibling relationship – from love to hate and back again.
In many ways they are quite different – JJ tends to be a little more negative about things and reticent about his friendships, essentially sweating the small stuff – letting little one-off incidents affect his relationships going forward, whilst EJ is such a cheerful, sociable chirpy little bunny and throws himself into friendships and relationships whole-heartedly.
Having said that JJ’s emotional sensitivity means that he can be very caring and thoughtful about other people’s plight – be it a homeless person on the street or another child who he sees may be struggling to make friends at school.
Lately they have had quite a few fights over various insignificant things – toys, accessories, etc. It’s totally normal but it drives me insane! I’m sure this is the point at which the grandparents get to go “ha!” and assume that karma has finally come round full circle!
The use of the word “hate” flies around wildly at times and sometimes our house swear words, “shut up!” and “stupid” which I won’t tolerate!
But then a moment of pure joy hits. Yesterday as they were lying on the floor together engrossed in their hama beading I popped out of the room for a minute and happened to overhear EJ telling his brother “I love you” and JJ replying “I love you too” and I know it’s a cliché but it just made my heart melt a little bit.
Because that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? No matter what happens in their relationships outside of our family, they will always have a bond which transcends the whole reason/season vagaries of friendship. At least I hope with all my heart that they take that bond and that underlying love and connection forward into adulthood, no matter what personality clashes or rivalries might occur over the years.
Just to hear JJ burst into one of the school Christmas songs and then EJ join in makes me smile – their shared sense of place, family experiences both good and bad and memories of everything from school life to holidays – those are things I cherish about my relationship with my sister. We may have slightly different versions and we might both approach life in quite different ways but there is something so strong in having grown up together.