August 10, 2011

Oh, brother or, in this case, sister

The girls always run up to Jack’s room whenever he wakes up to cheer him on until I get there (i.e., to keep him occupied while I limp towards the coffee machine like the addict I am). This morning, instead of the usual jumping, yelling and giggling I heard all kinds of shouting with no giggles at all.

“You get out! We don’t NEED you in here!”

Silvia, expelled so rudely from the room, plopped herself down on the floor of the hallway. Tears in her voice but more mad than sad, she tossed back at the closed door, “Yes you do! You’re my sister and you’ll ALWAYS need me!”.

Even with my irritation at the 6:30 A.M. screaming match, I couldn’t help but smile. Wise words from a 4-year-old.

Sometimes all these kids seem like... well, a whole hell of a lot of kids. It’s always so LOUD and some days there is way more fighting than communion. I’m always Mama in the Middle, called on to mediate. I find myself saying, “Work it out or walk away!” almost as much as I say, “Because I said so!” and of course, the tried and true, “NO!”.

And Jack is only one! It seems like too long a road to imagine them all grown up. But seeing as I have myself kind of done the growing-up thing as have many dozens (okay, hundreds) of people before me, I know eventually they’ll get there. My cousin, after many years with her life centered around the basic wants and needs of her kids, just started back at work now that they’ve reached a certain level of teenage independence. The mind boggles.

When that happens, as the parent becomes smaller and their own lives become bigger, it’s the people with your shared history who come along for the ride more than anyone else. Whether you believe it or not, eventually, your brothers or sisters are the ones whowill know why you tick, the people you called at 3 A.M. when you needed an illicit ride from some forbidden location like The Waffle House or a military base (theoretically, of course). They remember that awful nickname you had when you were six and love Hudson Hawk as much as you do in a visceral sort of way (or is that just my brothers?). When you lose your mind and maybe spend some time in the psych ward, they're the ones who drop it all to be there before you can even ask.

You don't always get along, you probably piss each other off more than any other person in the world and all that shared history can sometimes be as much of a burden as it is a blessing. But in the words of my wise little daughter, you’ll always need them.

Five minutes after being kicked off the island, Silvia was again running about with Anna, circling their brother on the floor as he tried to drink his morning bottle, preparing their joint plan of attack morning game. They communicate in a language I don’t speak. And that’s as it should be.

So every time I get overwhelmed, frazzled, furious and generally over-mom-ified, I try to remember that I already gave them the best thing EVER, each other, which in turn makes me, you know, totally awesome. Eventually my kids will understand that... and then maybe they’ll stop begging for cookies, Angry Birds stuffed animals, candy rings at the checkout counter and "just one more show". Hey, a girl can dream.

In the meantime, until this day of revelation arrives and they thank me (by the way, thanks mom!), I’ll stick to mohitos, cappucino and solo escape fantasies to help drown out the fighting.

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