I have one sibling, a sister. We are 15 years apart. Because of the age gap, I have referred to her as my eldest child. We have always lived in different countries and in so many ways are very different. I want to say we are close because there’s love between us. But we aren’t the kind of sisters who call each other constantly. We aren’t friends on social media. We used to be but not anymore. She once told the Hubby that she thinks I am strict. So that’s probably why she doesn’t want me in her business. She is in her mid 20’s and I am in my early 40’s so naturally – our priorities, lifestyles, life goals, and mindsets – are just in two different places.
I’ve learned to adapt to the distant closeness. I have come to realize that there’s nothing wrong with my sister and I’s relationship. It’s not easy at first but I now think that we cannot expect to tie family members down to us and our ideals of how the relationship should be. The reality is, people move on. People eventually live their lives. And while I love her dearly and every once in a while, I long for more phone calls – I don’t take it against her. She will forget birthdays and special occasions but when her heart is broken or when she has a life milestone, she calls me. With these, I am assured of our bond as sisters.
Growing up, I saw two different sets of siblings. My father’s side were very close. They always had each other’s back, no matter what. They always looked out for each other. My mother’s side were always at odds with each other. There was envy, anger, and coldness. You could not have put them all in one room and not witness a fight of some sort.
Aiden and Oliver are three years apart. Oliver is a wonderful blessing to us all. He came along when we felt so lost as parents dealing with Aiden’s autism. I am pretty sure that if Oliver didn’t come along, Aiden would be lonely and we would still be struggling as a family.
I see the bond that they have grow each day. Oliver understands Aiden. He would often tell Hubby and I what Aiden wants or how Aiden feels or what he thinks Aiden needs. He encourages Aiden to speak. He teaches Aiden words and phrases that are applicable to their play. He engages Aiden. He hugs and loves on his brother a lot.
I remember one time, we went trick or treating, just Oliver and I. He told people “I have a brother, his name is Aiden. He is at home now.” Somehow people understood what he meant and gave him extra candies for his brother. As soon as we got home – he excitedly called on Aiden and shared the candies with him.
Aiden doesn’t say much but when we point to Oliver and ask him “Who is that?” – he’d say, “Baby”. When Oliver gets in trouble, Aiden protects him. Sometimes, he’d even go into a meltdown. It’s like there’s a threshold of discipline we can give Oliver and anything past that threshold will trigger Aiden.
Aiden likes having Oliver around. When we moved into our house now, Oliver had his own room. But Aiden wouldn’t sleep without Oliver. So Oliver decided to just sleep in Aiden’s bedroom. And now – it’s referred to as “their bedroom”. Every once in a while, we would ask Oliver if he wants to have his own bedroom again. He’d say, “I think I am going to stay in our bedroom because I don’t want to leave Aiden alone. I love my brother so much.”
My children are young so their future relationship is not determined yet. But I think that if we nurture their sibling bond in the coming years, they may just turn out to be the same type of siblings from my father’s side. I want them to be their individual selves, not feel burdened by each other, and have a bond that overcomes jealousy, hurt, and anger. And when it comes down to it, I want them to have each other’s back, no matter what.