There's a five-year age gap between me and my sister. As you can imagine, there's a big difference between, say, a two-year-old and a seven-year-old, or a five-year-old and a ten-year-old.
Of course, most of those differences faded as we got older. But growing up, it made for a fair bit of conflict. I remember it drove me crazy when she wanted to copy everything I did...when, of course, all I wanted was to be an individual. And I'm sure she got pretty sick and tired of me bossing her around.
Now, with my girls, I'm starting to see that sisterly dynamic forming. They're much closer in age—just two years and three months apart—but that has its own challenges. "I had it first!" "She got the bigger piece!" "She's not sharing!" "She hit me!" And so on. There are fights. There's competition for attention. There are tears and tantrums.
But the other side of that dynamic is one that gives me pure joy.
We're in the car the other day, driving back from my father-in-law's place in Collingwood. It's close to a two-hour drive, so we purposely left late, thinking the kids would pass out in the car.
No such luck. For at least half of the trip, the two-year-old sings one of those random songs that two-year-olds sing (you know—the ones where they basically sing every little thought that comes into their head?). Loudly and tunelessly. The four-year-old complains that she wants to sleep and it's keeping her awake. "There's no reason to yell," my husband agrees.
All is quiet for a moment...then the two-year-old pipes up, "But my reason is, I want to sing." I start to laugh. My husband starts to laugh. Then the four-year-old starts to laugh—and, seeing her laugh, the two-year-old laughs too, even though she has no idea why it's funny.
Often now, I hear my girls talking to each other, carrying on mini-adult conversations over the minutiae of a child's day. The four-year-old delights in clowning around Three Stooges-style—purposely falling over, bumping into things—and the two-year-old eggs her on with an infectious giggle. They get all dolled up in princess gear and dance around the house, or they get involved in some elaborate make-believe game, the rules of which are impossible for anyone over the age of five to understand.
I can see it happening: that inevitable sisterly love. I have no idea if it will last or what their relationship as grown women will be. But the basic bond—it's there. And it's beautiful.