Category Archives: Siblings
Allen, when he was three years old, told me one morning, “I love you.” Then he went on to say, “And I love Daddy and I love Aiden and I love Jessica…” He continued until he had named pretty much every person he knew or could remember at the time.
Children have so much love to share and give. It is contagious.
A few days later, he was giving a multitude of kisses and cuddles to my husband. Aiden, who was turning one that day, and was fully focused on his birthday gift, placed it down and crawled up to daddy and likewise started giving him “kisses.”
As adults, we tend to withhold love, forgiveness, and time, giving it to those who we feel deserve it. Or those who are in our “good books” at the time. Amazing how three-year-old’s (and one-year-old’s) naturally recognize the contagious and beautiful power of love. Perhaps that is one reason Jesus said we would do well to become like children—not only to enter the Kingdom one day, but to also enter a place of joy, peace, spontaneity and love in our everyday lives. Sometimes I feel my children are teaching me every bit as much as I am teaching them – probably a lot more.
It was past midnight. And it had been a long day. I woke up at 6 to get that bit of extra time I knew I needed. Packing. Cleaning. Finishing up some work. And then, once my husband and kids got home from work and school, respectively, driving to the coast.
The drive took less than three hours and here we were, at a large vacation rental home my mom had set up for our extended family to celebrate my dad’s birthday and retirement. Family members trickled in over the next few hours. We took a “short” walk to the beach, which ended up being a very long walk, and the kids watched a movie.
But finally, it was getting to be one of my favorite parts of the day: night. Bedtime.
My husband and I and the two boys were in one room, so I made up a bed for my older son on the floor. Blankets. Pillow. Sheets. It took a while to find where everything was hidden. My husband had collapsed into bed and fallen asleep a little while earlier. My youngest clambered into bed next to him.
“Mommy, can I have Sherbet and Sunshine?”
Sherbet is Aiden’s sherbet-colored dolphin. Sunshine is the yellow rabbit he got on Easter. I pulled them out of his backpack and gave them to him. He snuggled down with them.
“Mommy, I left my cuddle toys in the car.” It was Allen, sitting up in his makeshift bed on the floor.
“Allen, the car is locked now. Daddy’s gone to sleep and I don’t know where the keys are.”
I hated seeing him so disappointed, but he didn’t say a word. Allen lied back down on the floor, his head only about a foot away from the open door. Darkness loomed from the vast entrance area, and a staircase was right around the corner.
I remembered sleeping in strange places, new places. How difficult it was to fall asleep. I usually had a sister or two (or three) to sleep with, so I didn’t feel alone; crowded was often more the word for it.
“Aiden, do you think Allen could have one of your cuddle toys, just for the night?”
Aiden blinked open his eyes wide. “No,” he said simply.
I heard Allen give out a little moan, but he still didn’t say anything.
“Why don’t we pray for the night?” I asked. I didn’t want to push the issue and hoped and that Allen would be alright. After all, he was seven years old. He’s a big boy.
After a short prayer, Aiden sat up.
“Allen, you can have Sherbet and Sunshine for the night.” He climbed over the side of the bed with his two favorite stuffed toys and tucked them in next to his brother.
Within minutes, both boys were asleep it had been a long day full of excitement and adventure. But I think the best part was seeing a little boy give his little cuddle creatures to his brother so he wouldn’t feel alone.
When has a child in your life surprised you with an act of giving or sharing (sometimes out of the blue)? Would love to hear it. Please leave your comments below.
“How does she stay so calm?” I have mentally asked myself this question plenty of times. While I am hyperventilating, she still manages to act like a normal human being.
My brother is a hyperactive package of heart-attacks-waiting-to-happen wrapped up in a wiry, lanky kid. When he was three, he climbed on top of our car; just a few months ago he fell into a river, a deeper-than-he-can-stand-in river, but he picked flowers for her to try and compensate for the fact that he was soaked, so that made it all okay.
I don’t know how she is still sane; I still get all hyped up when he smashes something or does something COMPLETELY INSANE, but somehow she knows how to handle it.
I am convinced that my mom is a superhero. I mean, how else could she deal with my brother, sister, and me? I (for one) know very well that I am an extremely difficult person. What with my mood swings, constant nagging, and paranoid personality, I can hardly stand to be around myself, so I don’t know how she does it. And besides that, she manages to single-handedly run this circus show that we call our house.
Like all teenagers, I can’t wait to move out. I want my freedom and my space. But when I really think about life without my mom (aka cook, laundry lady, cleaner, therapist, psychiatrist, and counselor), it gives me a headache. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the fridge won’t refill itself, the laundry won’t wash itself, and the house won’t clean itself, unless I actually do all of it—myself!
It’s a horrifying thought, and it leads me into thinking things like: “Why grow up at all?” or “Living with your mom your whole life doesn’t sound THAT bad.”
I have a little nervous breakdown when the store runs out of my favorite chips and I have to actually make a decision! Good thing I still have a while to learn about the big, bad world.
I’d like to let all you mothers know that there is kid over here who thinks you are incredible. I really don’t think I could ever handle the stuff you go through; the responsibility or stress and the list goes on and on. It really amazes me how you can turn a house into a home, crying into laughter, and take care of us little bundles of trouble.
Happy Mother’s Day.
About Charlotte Storm: My name is Charlotte and I’m 15 years old. I love to write and create my own little worlds in my head. My crazy family is often the fuel for my writing and my inspiration.
[Like this story on our Facebook page to help the author win Positive Parenting’s Mother’s Day Writing Contest! (You’re welcome to “like” it here too! :)]
My son’s birthday was last week. The youngest in our little five-member family, Aiden, is now five. The past week has flown by so fast. The five years have flown by so fast.
Sometimes I wish that I had made note of every special moment. Somehow recorded it or remembered it. They go by so fast and too often pass into that place that seems almost oblivion (but perhaps is kept somewhere … somehow … by Someone).
But I remember a few, and they bring a smile to my face when I think of them.
My son running up to me as I got out of the car last Tuesday – his birthday. “Mom, mom!” His excited shout, his joyful face.
“What?” Waiting to hear what interesting thing he’d been doing with daddy while I was at college.
“I’m five years old now!” he exclaims wrapping his little arms around my waist and squeezing tight. I know he’s five. I’ve been helping him count down the days for the past month or so every time he’s asked, “How many days is it until my birthday?”
Kind of like I did five years ago waiting for him to arrive on the scene, which he did after only five hours of labor. As with everything else in my little boy’s life and schedule, I guess he didn’t want it to last too long because he gets bored quickly. I can picture him in my tummy. Okay, enough of those squeezy contraction things. Let’s get this show on the road. I definitely didn’t mind him hurrying things along that time.
Another snapshot highlight of the past week occurred a couple nights ago. It was past “lights out” time. And the boys still had the lights on. I peeked into the room, ready to help them turn off the light and get into bed (little boys seem to forget sometimes). And Aiden was sitting next to his big brother, Allen, my seven year old who would opt for drawing over reading any day. But he sat next to Aiden and read him every page of a storybook. I kept the light on for a few more minutes.
Then there was Saturday, when we celebrated Aiden’s birthday. I’m always nervous about parties, especially hosting them. As simple as I usually keep them, there is always the unknowable factor of children; who knows when and how hurt feelings or frustration will develop, and why it seems to increase exponentially with each kid added to the mix? Although there were a couple huffy moments and a squabble or two on the side, for the most part the kids got along great and had a blast. I think the big kids (aka adults) had fun too.
And the next evening, Aiden handing his new Hot Wheels hovercraft and tow truck to his little cousin, telling her, “You can keep this with you for the night.” I had to do a double take. Did my son just share his new birthday toy with someone else? Maybe those repeated pep talks about the joy of sharing (that I and my husband have been giving him half of his life) are finally getting through!
Every smile is a highlight. Every hug. Every question that exposes a mind thinking and feeling and growing. Yes, the challenging moments definitely exist and at times can seem like all there is. But I guess it depends on what we, as parents, focus on. Perhaps seeing my son turning five and growing up so fast has caused me to try to focus more on the good, the brighter points, during the past week.
But if so, I hope to make it somewhat of a habit.
What methods work for you in recording the high points of parenting? (One friend of mine posts all her fun parenting highlights on Facebook and that’s her way of keeping a record.) Do you have any tips on focusing on “the brighter points” of parenting and keeping a positive perspective in spite of the tougher moments of being a mother or father? Would love to hear from you in the comments below or on our Facebook page!
Tuesday was Superhero or Disney.
Wednesday was Hillbilly
Thursday was Favorite Book Character
Friday, today, is Senior Citizen
We got the information slip last week and I took the kids shopping on Sunday afternoon. Why I even though that I would be able to find full, ready-made costumes nowhere near Halloween, I had no idea, but we were hopeful as we went from store to store. I found accessories – a hat, some hair ties – and a couple of backpacks on sale for their next school year, but no outfits.
“We’ll find something at home,” I assured them, promising myself that I would make it a priority and not wait until last-minute to help them find costumes.
Then there I was, Tuesday morning, tearing through the kids’ closet to find that last princessy dress that still fit my daughter. I mixed and matched a few ideas for Allen (he wanted to dress up as Wyatt from Super Why); he declined. “I’ll just go in my normal school uniform,” he told me.
I felt like a failure, especially when I saw the picture that the school principal posted of the kids, all in amazing costumes, and my son was absent from the photo.
He’s probably going to feel bad about it, I thought to myself. I better tell my husband to give him some extra attention this afternoon and evening. I was attending classes until after their bedtime. I only remember to ask how Allen was at about 11:30 that night.
“He seemed fine,” my husband said.
The next morning, we found some hillbilly outfits. Well, more like cowboy outfits. These had been the only costumes we had worked out from the previous week, and somehow this morning they weren’t good enough.
“My teacher said we’re supposed to wear things that are full of patches,” my daughter said.
“I’m sure she just was trying to give you ideas if you didn’t have anything to wear already,” I answered.
She pulled her face, that face that means she totally doesn’t agree and wants to make that fact very apparent without saying a word.
My husband walked into the kitchen. I fumed to him, “Suddenly everything everyone else says is the Gospel truth and anything I say has to pass some litmus test.”
He laughed. “I’ll help them get dressed.”
By the time I had finished making their lunches, they were in costume – the ones we had picked out last week – and they were both happy.
The next day, Jessica was Violet from the Boxcar series (how easy is that? Pull out everything violet that you own and wear it.) Allen decided to dress up as Christopher Robin, complete with the Winnie the Pooh stuffed bear that he had gotten from a friend last year.
This morning, I took a deep breath before going into the kids’ room to wake them up. I knew what I had in mind that they could wear, but I realized that didn’t mean they would want to wear it.
“I don’t want to dress up today,” Allen told me as soon as he rolled over and opened his eyes.
Oh no, I thought, someone teased him about his costume yesterday. I gently inquired why not. Everything seemed okay. He just didn’t want to dress up.
Jessica readily agreed with the outfit I suggested to her. It took a while to get her hair done up in bun complete with baby-powder grey, but it looked good. I was happy with myself, and with her. I was happy with Allen too, even if he didn’t want to dress up.
I said goodbye to an old woman and a little boy, on their way to school. So my son won’t be in the picture with the rest of his class in costume. That’s okay. Every kid is different; and every one of them is precious. I couldn’t imagine loving them more.
And I’m thankful Spirit Week only happens once a year. I think I just found a grey hair … and it’s not baby powder.
By mid-afternoon, however, his fever returned with a vengeance and he didn’t want me to leave his side. I was trying to figure out how to make dinner before the two older kids and my husband went for our mid-week Bible study.
My older son, Allen, came into the darkened room. “Does Aiden need anything?” he asked.
Aiden was resting halfway on my lap and it was all I could do to sit still, thinking of everything that needed to get done.
“No thanks, Allen,” I answered, attempting to move out from under my feverish son.
“Don’t go anywhere, mommy.” His hot hand held on to mine.
So much for that.
I called Allen back into the room. “Actually, there is something you can do.” Even in the darkness, I saw his face light up.
“Can you peel and wash a few potatoes for dinner?” I told him where to find them and the potato peeler.
By the time Aiden had fallen asleep enough for me to slip out of the room, Allen had peeled and washed the potatoes.
“Can I do anything else?” He was almost jumping up and down.
“Do you want to cut them too?”
“Sure!” We worked side by side until Aiden woke up again, calling for me.
While I was back in the room, Allen washed and cut a plate full of celery sticks.
After dinner was finished, Allen hovered around the room, keeping an eye on Aiden. He ran to get him water, got a damp cloth to cool his forehead, and brought one stuffed animal after another.
“It’s such a quiet evening, mommy,” Allen told me, “without Aiden talking.”
I thought about a typical evening, with Allen starting some activity and his little brother commandeering it – wanting to play with his cars or his Legos or draw on his art board. Usually, anything that Allen wants to do, Aiden is right in there, often taking charge in his not-always-so-gallant manner.
And this evening, when Allen could be playing in peace to his little heart’s content, he’s hovering around his little brother like a hummingbird.
I remember when I was young, my mom often quoting a verse to us six not-always-so-loving siblings: “Let brotherly love continue.”
Now that I’m a mom, all I can say is, “Amen, pass the potatoes.”