1 Jul


A woman recently told me that she never got over the fact that her parents had a second child. Her life was forever changed the day her baby sister entered the world. She is now an adult, and still carries resentment towards her sister, as well as her parents. I do not actually know this woman, so I cannot speak to the relationship she has with her sister, but her story saddened me.

One of my fears for my girls is that they will not have a relationship when they get older. I know it is normal for siblings to argue, fight, sometimes throw some blows, and that in the end, they can still become the best of friends. But sometimes I worry that Phoenix will end up like the woman mentioned above–resentful and bitter.

Most of the time, or maybe more like half of the time, the girls get along wonderfully. They put on plays together, take turns being each other’s audience for dance performances in their room, help each other out. But often, there is this undertone of melancholy in Phoenix when anyone gives Magpie special attention.

Like this week, for instance, Magpie started a creative dance class. Phoenix has been taking ballet for three years, and week after week, Magpie watches her big sister put on her leotard and tights, and go into the studio with all the other ballerinas. She watches and imitates her big sister’s graceful movements across the living room floor. This week, it was Magpie’s turn to go into the studio. We pulled out Phoenix’s old pink leotard and dance skirt–Magpie was beaming. Phoenix was scowling. Then she began to cry.

I sat down to listen to her thoughts. She feels as if Magpie has to do everything she does, and then Magpie steals the spotlight. I understand what she is saying, and I feel for her. I told her that, but then I also explained that Magpie thinks Phoenix is the coolest and most beautiful person in the world–she will always want to be like her big sister. I hope that someday Phoenix understands this. I think I need to read up on cultivating loving sibling relationships.

Anyway, this entire post was prompted by a photo I took of the girls on their way into their dance classes.  It captured the mood perfectly: Image

That picture says it all! I didn’t have a sister, so I think I cannot understand what Phoenix is feeling to the full extent. I had a pesky little brother, but by the time we were eight and ten, we were friends–and still are. I honestly believe the girls will end up being close when they are older, but I am a mother, and I worry the way mothers do.


6 Responses to “Grrls”

  1. Shel July 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    I have a big sister and we fought and argued every day of our lives until she moved out of the house. We’re both grown now and I could not get through one day without her. I bet your girls will grow to be the best of friends. Great post!

    • denverjess July 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      That’s so great! I do have hope–Phoenix is so very sweet to her little sister when she thinks no one is watching. 🙂

  2. kaleidoscope49 July 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    As one of seven children, I can attest to the fact that extreme sibling rivalry and sibling friendship are not mutually exclusive. My sisters and brother and I are very close, but we certainly don’t always get along very well. Sharing extracurricular activities intensifies both the camaraderie and the rivalry.

    • denverjess July 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      Wow! How great to have so many siblings! I am not so worried about them getting along one hundred percent of the time, but more that they will not even be close enough to fight. I am not sure how much we, as parents, can control that, but I feel like I can to some degree. Is there anything that you feel strengthened your relationship with your sisters and brother?

      • kaleidoscope49 July 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

        I think we just spent so much time together and we share so many interests that we had to be close. We never knew that there was any other way to be; I didn’t realize until I was in college that many families aren’t as close as we are.

  3. marylshields November 19, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    I had both an older and a younger sister. My older sister always had the responsibility of babysitting all of us including our 2 younger brothers and is resentful to this day. Sometimes I was resentful of my younger sister because she always wanted to be around me and my friends. I did some really mean things to her. But now we are pretty close and she still looks up to me 🙂 Also it was the same for my boys! It is not gender specific. They are best of friends now!

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