`Tis the season of family gatherings. Making me think of all those who make up my “family.” It makes me think of past, present and future family holiday celebrations. These thoughts in turn cause me to ponder the connection my children have within our little family of five.
I worry about the relationship my kids will come to have when they are older. I know plenty of sisters and brothers that are super close, sharing all their secrets, good and bad. But I know plenty that aren’t. I have a younger sister, almost 7 years younger. We don’t talk often and are incredibly different, so I have the tendency to not understand her choices just like she doesn’t understand mine. I was hoping when we moved back to the Midwest this would have changed but I actually see her less now than I did living across the country. I also have a half-brother that is almost 22 years younger than I. Talk about a world of difference! He does have a special connection with my eldest but unfortunately we won’t have the tight-knit bond that I read about in books or saw on T.V. as a little girl. I think of my dad’s relationship with his brothers and sister, coming from a family of five kids I’ve seen their dynamics change throughout the years. I’ve also witnessed the changes of my mom’s relationship with her three siblings.
I wonder if my three little ones will have a close relationship once they all leave the protection of my nest. It breaks my heart to think otherwise. Ugh, it makes me so unhappy when strangers follow “Oh I’m a twin” with “but we never talk” or “we don’t get along.” When I had twins I envisioned this bond that could never be broken, I hope this is the case as they grow from babies to kids to teens to adults. But I realize that though they are twins they are still two separate individuals. The whole twin factor into a sibling group of three is its’ own crazy ordeal too. I worried that the twins would leave Brax out, the two against him, but as my littlest minions take on their own sparkling personalities, it is Hailey and Brax that seem to stand against Travis. I try my best to make all interactions and attention equal, some days are easier than others. Each of the three having their own emotions, thoughts and ways of handling the combination together, prove to be a test for their relationships and my parenting.
I grew up spending week days, weekends and holidays with my mom’s family. It was completely normal to find all four of my grandparent’s children and their children in grandma and grandpa’s house on, say, a Tuesday afternoon at 4:17 pm. I spent my childhood and teens with not only my sister but my cousins too. We were all the same age and spent many sleepovers laughing and fighting like we were brothers and sisters. Holidays, birthdays and Sunday dinners were massive buffets of food and tradition. We were basically the Polish/Irish version of today’s Emmy winning drama Parenthood. I grew up thinking that’s how all families were and that’s how my family would be when I was married and had my little clan.
10 years. That’s how long it’s been since that fairy tale family I described above was under the same roof. Again, life got in the way. Illness, death, divorce and falling outs occurred. Little kids grew up. Aunts and Uncles moved away. Life just happened. It wasn’t anything my grandparents did or didn’t do during the upbringing of their babies, it just happened to be that their babies grew up and so did their sibling relationships … all in opposite directions.
I, of course, want my little spawns to build loving and close-knit relationships that span across childhood, adolescent years and into their adult journeys. How do I as a mother ensure that they will??? I guess on a hope and a prayer? But to also put an extra layer of overachievement in solidifying their relationships I also plan to do a bit more. A bit more following of traditions. We are a holiday crazy family so I know that instilling traditions into this area will be an easy one. I just have to make sure that the traditions incorporate all three little loves of my life and their personalities to have them really drinking “the Halperin Kool-Aid”. A little bit more of keeping my parenting in line and equal amongst all babies hoping that this will set an example of how they should treat one another. A little bit more of providing a loving and huggable environment where nothing can’t be solved with a kind word and an outstretched hand. A little bit more of a welcome mat at our door, sharing our good fortune in love and happiness with others who aren’t so fortunate. A little bit more attending church as a family instead of “a party of one”. A little bit more working on my own relationships with family members of “holiday family pasts”.