“Blossoming Sibling Relationships”
I was sitting outside, basking in the glow of the noonday sun on our painted wooden porch swing. The fresh air had a hint of the hot humid southern summer that would soon be upon us but had not yet settled, blanketed the air. Our wrap around country porch was surrounded by signs of new life brought about by the miracle of spring. All sleeping things had begun to wake from their frosty slumber. The air was filled with the buzzing of thick carpenter Bees as they bounced around the budding spring flowers. The many tree’s that dotted the landscape looked like popcorn. Blossoms of Bradford Pears and Dogwoods had begun to make their grand entrance leaving bits of pollen scattered on the ground. It was a beautiful day! I was lazily watching the kids play as they took their much needed lunch break from our homeschooling agenda.
The kids had just emerged from the side garage giggling and running, carrying a spaceship water sprinkler that someone had recently given us. Their boisterous voices and laughter floated across the lawn filling my mind with wonder. All four kids were working together, determined to get the sprinkler connected to the green curvy hose that snaked across the lawn, convinced of the fun it would be to run through the unsteady sprays of cool water. They all had their swimsuits on despite the chill that still hung in the spring air.
The sights and sounds of my children happily playing together was foreign to me. It wasn’t that they didn’t care for each other, it was more that our days seemed to always be filled with a silent uneasiness. We were tense, ready for things to fall apart. Like walking through the jungle, not sure when the sandy ground might give way to the unexpected soupy quicksand that lay in wait, ready to suck you under without warning.
As I sat there on this warm sunny day, I was overcome with emotion at the realization that this was the first time EVER, that I could remember, that all four of the kids were happily playing together without the underlying pretense of a struggle. It was such a beautiful sight in my eyes, a miracle. A sight more glorious than the most exquisite sunrise or mountain peak was that of my kids being together and happy!
The emanation of a budding idea began to blossom in my mind. I realized that, one of the most beautiful things that homeschooling had created for us was the opportunity to have “TIME.” Unrushed and unstructured, time. We had always spent our time rushing from one thing to the next, fearful that if something was left undone, then…. I don’t know what we thought would happen, we just kept running. But here we were with nothing going on and the kids were learning how to connect. They didn’t need a therapist or social skills classes to teach them, they just needed time to figure it out together. It was a co-created experience and they were successfully learning to connect with each other in a fun and positive way. That was completely foreign and new and I was profoundly aware that had we not been homeschooling, we would not have had the “time” to be still long enough for this to happen. I let them play for as long as they would that day and reveling in this new-found moment. Everything else could wait for an occasion such as this!
Making time became a priority for us. Yes, there was still fighting and misunderstandings, but there was also connecting and understanding. I looked for opportunities to create moments and re-evaluated our activities. Recognizing that no other success would be able to compensate for the failure in familial relationships and so I became very protective of what things I allowed to take our time. Their relationships continued to grow and to blossom and all these years later, they are the best of friends even with their differences. And the happiness that comes from that is fulfilling and irreplaceable.
How do you make time for the important things in your life?
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons