Oh, boy. I knew this day would come, I really did. All siblings have this moment and it’s totally normal. Georgia and Violet have begun to fight. I guess that’s not right. They’ve been fighting…for years. My husband, the only child (bless him), keeps asking when this “phase is over.” I had to be the one to tell him that it wasn’t going to ever be “over” and that this was totally normal. I think he died a little inside.
So as children do, they say hurtful things to and about each other. One of my girls uttered the “I wish I didn’t have a sister” phrase. I had to catch myself. A normal mom might brush that off and say, “You don’t mean that.” This mom, however, had to bite her tongue and stop from saying, “You do know what I would give to have my brother back? Do you know how much I miss out on since he’s not here? How much you miss out on? I never want to hear those words out of your mouth again. Hopefully, you don’t know what that pain is like.”
Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.
Okay. So what I said was, “That’s not a nice thing to say. Think about your friends who don’t have siblings and how lonely they are. You love your sister, and for the most part, you have fun together. Why don’t you take a break and do something else.”
That was so hard. That was a moment I knew was coming but didn’t want it to actually come. I hoped my girls were bigger than that, I knew they weren’t. What kid is? I know I said that when I was a kid. Do I think that’s what took Andrew? Heavens no. The point is, I didn’t think it was fair to push my grief and loss on to her 7-year-old emotions. Nor was it fair of me to take on her innocuous statement and internalize it. I was never going to make her realize how awful that phrase hurt, nor would I want her to feel that pain.
I think about people that know our story and act like a family member is dead. I kinda want to shake them and say, “Do you know what it is like? What if they were gone and you had no idea? What if they were gone and you didn’t forgive and forget.” My mom actually had someone say to her, “Now I know how you feel.” That person has no idea how my mom feels, her adult child is alive and well.