At Play Shoppe on Friday, young Oliver bounced into the playroom and immediately greeted me with “How was Florida, Miss Fran?”
“Florida was sunny and warm – and I got to go swimming in the pool”, I told him.
Last week I set off to spend a long “sisters’ weekend” in Florida. Even though my two sisters and I are frequently in touch via phone and e-mails, we don’t often see each other face-to-face, and thus – this intentional get-together.
“Sisters are different flowers from the same garden” one of my sisters had posted on her face book page. And yet, even within these differences lies this sense and memory of a common childhood.
My sisters and I talked, laughed, ate, stayed up too late, disagreed. We didn’t always remember things from the past in quite the same way. Fortunately, we recognize our differences yet still appreciate the bond – the lifelong continuity of core experiences that exist and hold us together.
On my flight home I serendipitously sat next to three young sisters – the exact age difference between them as between me and my own sisters. These girls were 15, 13 and 11- years- old. It was interesting to observe them – to savor the flashback of my own “sister” experience at their age.
I sensed the differences that existed between these three sisters – in their looks, their style, their attitudes, the teasing moments, the stubborn response to a request. But then, I recognized the connection that flowed – the shared giggles, the knowing exchange of looks between them and, most endearingly, the way two of the sisters sitting in my row, fell sound asleep, leaning in and resting on each other – their pony tails entwined like two kittens curled up and cozy together.
There’s an expression that sibling rivalry is “just one side of the coin. The other side is sibling caring”.
I know that about my sisters and myself. I saw it with these three young sisters on the plane.
As parents, it’s important to notice and appreciate this focus as often as we can with our children. Allow ample space for family time so positive experiences can be shared. Set the bar high for the way we treat one another in the family.
And then remember to enjoy those most precious moments when we see and feel the other side of the coin.