Unfortunately, I grew up with an extremely adversarial sibling relationship. I want to go more deeply into that, but it really is one of my biggest regrets in life. A million: woulda, coulda, shouldas go through my mind whenever I think about my sister, Danielle.
Probably one of my biggest regrets in all of that comes in my two biological children. I have tried with all of my might, resources, counseling appointments, wisdom, and prayers to help my girls treat each other respectfully. A lot of it is natural sibling stuff that happens and they may well grow out of it, but they’re 14 and 11 now and it’s literally pretty much not changed at all. Arch enemies.
I have three step children- 24, 21, and (almost) 17. The oldest hasn’t been too involved in our blended family- mostly because she’s been so much older and doing her own thing since our family joined forces. We love her dearly, but I don’t have a whole lot of experience mothering her like I do with my boys (yes… I do say ‘my’ boys fully realizing they’re my husband’s children and that they do have a mom that’s not me). I have mothered them, though, for many years. That includes making (usually) 2 meals a day (3 on non school days), laundry, celebrating good times, and crying with them through tough times. They’re very much my boys.
Well… these boys. They have also been pretty ‘typical’ as far as siblings to. They’re rarely nice to each other– in fact, sometimes, we’ve had to jump in and put a halt to the words and actions they have used against each other (particularly the older one toward the younger).
Our younger boy was a bit of a chubster when he was younger. That’s just the way he was made. Our older boy was absolutely ruthless about it. OMGOSH! SOOOOOOOO rude and hurtful. Lots of tears by both our boy and by us as we were so broken-hearted for him. Our older boy had SOME NERVE! Absolute SAME EXACT THING for him when he was younger– chubby kiddo! Only thing was he didn’t have anyone putting him down and making him cry about his jelly belly everyday! Ugh! That seriously pissed us off so badly… yet… he just would NOT let up!
Don’t get me wrong! Our older boy is (and always has been) an amazing person. I mean he is one of the most important people in the world to me. He is one of the most respectful people you’ll meet (outside of his brotherly relationship). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been complimented on how respectful and how detail-oriented he is. Still… he took full advantage of his role as big brother from his words to his not letting up in a wrestling match until his younger brother was literally crying. Master tormenter, for sure.
Being almost 22 years old now, we’re so grateful this boy has matured so much. He finished his automotive credential a year ago and has a full time job in management at a local parts store. He’s doing really well and loving life. We received the following text on Friday of last week:
Of course, this was an absolutely wonderful shock! This message came completely out of nowhere and we just could NOT believe how wonderful of a gift this was. I was sitting with a couple of friends stretching at the end of a workout and grabbed my phone. Instant tears came to my eyes. I’ve been much more bold with my faith in the last several years and I was so moved to share how God was at work in all of this. My friends and I had a wonderful chat- growing our friendship deeper- as we spoke of our own sibling struggles and triumphs over the course of our childhood and adult lives as well as about some of our fears and insecurities. It really helped to deepen our friendship- two men I already love and respect. Our boy’s actions helped open up some topics of conversation that allowed friendship to grow beyond just the gym partner nicities and crap-dishing we typically exchange.
Younger brother has had a vehicle for about a year now. His mom bought (a pile of craaa-haaaap) from her older daughter (mostly to help her with getting some extra cash for wedding expenses). We were completely against the idea because we knew it was a hunk of junk. Her thinking, though, was that our older boy (who, at the time, was just completing his automotive program at the college) would get it safely running. Well, this CAR and that BOY just did not go well together. Probably 5x in the last year, he’s had an absolute FIT about how much he ‘freaking hates’ that car and is never going to touch it again! (Pretty funny that he’d get over that mood after a couple weeks and tinker around with it again.) What it boiled down to, though, was that he has been working a TON of hours and when he’s not working, he doesn’t WANT to work. I get it. He’s not a parent yet and he wants to enjoy his free time. Totally understandable– especially considering it wasn’t even a project for himself.
This whole cycle caused a lot of tension between the boys– one always frustrated with the other. Lots of blow outs and basically, it came down to more of a headache for the other brother than it was worth. He’s been making good money and saving it, so… when he came across an ad on Craigslist, he saw an opportunity! Wow!
What a powerful way our one boy blessed the other. We have taught our children that the goal in having a budget is NOT to build wealth. The goal in getting right with your finances is to prioritize so that one day you may be other to extravagantly bless others.
He is single, btw, Ladies (and super cute)!
Funny side note. Boy typically gets a ride to school and walks home (home being about half a mile from the school). We ask him, “So, are you excited to drive to school?”
“No! Why would I do that?” This is hysterical because we had the EXACT SAME conversation with older brother 5 years ago. This boy said precisely what his older brother said, “I’m not going to waste gas when I can just walk.”
Now mind you this child does have a job and literally no expenses (except for the $1000 he owes us for… well… he owes $1000 and we still love him very much, but he needs to replace something he damaged). He says, “I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing. Ride to school and then walk home. It’s only like an 8-minute walk anyway.”
Next afternoon… Monday first school day with his own car (that runs). He had been at his mom’s house overnight. My husband texts him that afternoon, “So… j’end up driving to school?”