Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Siblings are a Gift

The other day Nate fell asleep in the swing right before Livy's nap time. I was corraling her down the hall when she backtracked toward the swing. No! Don't wake up Nate! I immediately became irritated and horrified that she would wake him up and I would miss my chance for a shower. Boy did she prove me wrong. Olivia had a few little stuffed animals in her arms (I've written before about the migration of animals to and from the living room upon waking and before napping) and she carefully and lovingly placed Curious George in Nathan's arms, then picked up a blanket from the floor to cover him. "There you go Nate" she said quietly before proceeding down the hall.

Later that day, while ago I was putting Nathan down for another nap. He really hadn't slept much (despite Olivia's earlier efforts LOL) so he was pretty wound up. I took him in to lay him down in the pack and play, and while I was in there rubbing his back, I could hear Olivia coming down the hall. Again, panic! She entered the room quietly, carrying one of Nate's chewy toys. "Here you go mommy. For Nate." I guess she heard him crying and figured that would make him feel better.

I never imagined how the joy of parenting is magnified when you bring a second little soul into the house. It makes my heart swell to see Olivia caring for Nate, and to see how his eyes follow her around the room. You know, I got very emotional right before Nathan was born. I guess I was feeling like Olivia was still such a baby and still needed me so much. I worried that she would be missing out by having to share me. George was great. He said that I was giving Olivia a gift by bringing her a little brother. They would always have each other, he reminded me, no matter what.

It made me think about how dull my life would have been without siblings. Even though my brother and sisters are much older than I am, they were still very much a part of my life. My sister Liz took me to try out for the swim team, and was often my taxi driver to the roller rink or a friend's house. My brother got up early every Saturday morning to take me to my saxophone lesson. My sister Patti would buy me a little toy at Fry's department store every time she got paid, and comforted me after Liz kicked me in the kidney with her clog because I was taunting her while she was getting ready for a date. I'm sure that there were times they didn't think of me as a "gift" but looking back I certainly think of them that way. I know that there'll be fights over toys and there'll come a time when Livy won't want Nate tagging along and they'll both need their own space. At some point, they'll probably even think they hate the other one for some silly reason. In the end though, I hope they appreciate each other, stay close, and know that they can always count on each other.

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