I had a proud mum moment last week.
My eldest daughter had a friend over for a play date and there was a moment when the two girls were playing with a little pink pretend iPhone. Caillie’s friend waved it around in front of Molly as though she was going to give it to her and then snatched it back at the last minute. When Molly burst into tears, Birdy very firmly turned to her friend and said, “Hey, don’t be mean to my little sister!” I didn’t say anything at the time, but on the inside I was doing a little happy dance.
I was really excited to see that protective instinct coming out in Caillie because my big sister was always protective of me. There was one time in particular when my fearless big sister saved me from a very sticky situation on a harbour cruise with a bloke who wouldn’t take no for an answer. (I’d already said it at least five times.) My five foot nothing sister grabbed the back of his shirt, wrenched him away from me and gave him a piece of her mind. Things turned pretty nasty, but even when he tried to physically intimidate her with violence, my sister stuck up for me and put my safety ahead of her own. What a blessing it was to me that she was there to look out for me. It’s not a nice subject to talk about and I pray my daughters never find themselves in a situation like that, but I also pray that they’ll always look out for each other. Girls need to do that for each other.
The other thing I really appreciate about both my sisters is that we always help each other out. I’m starting to see my girls do that. A couple of months ago Caillie and Molly did their first ever job together, filling up Grammy’s Twinings box with teabags. It was a good job for them because the different blends of tea come in colour-coded packets, so even Molly was able to match them up. It was so nice to see them working together side by side for the first time.
Even just in the week or so since Molly started walking I’ve started to see a lot more signs of sisterly bonding. Birdy has been sick a lot in the past few weeks which has limited what she’s capable of doing physically. In a way it’s also brought her down closer to Molly’s level and as a consequence they’re interacting a lot more than they usually would. Just today as they were sitting together on the back steps, Molly reached out for Birdy’s hand and asked her to walk with her out into the garden. Birdy was delighted, because normally Molly would have automatically reached for one of her parents. She said, “It’s like Molly has just realised that I’m her sister!” The timing of that was rather extraordinary, given that I’d already written most of this post about sisterly bonding!
I’ve always believed that a lot of bonding happens when we’re asleep. My girls sleep in the same room and Molly’s cot usually ends up pushed right up against Caillie’s bed. Over Easter we stayed at a friend’s house, and their bedroom was a lot bigger so the cot was about five metres away from the bunk beds on the opposite wall. My girls couldn’t cope with being that far away from each other so I had to drag the cot over to the other side of the room so they could be closer. Now most days when they wake up, Caillie climbs into the cot with Molly and calls out to me to get her up. Even just a few months ago, Caillie would have climbed into our bed in the morning without giving Molly a second thought. But now she won’t leave Molly alone for a minute because she doesn’t want her to cry. It’s so sweet and it’s nice to see that maturity developing.
One of the other wonderful things about sisters is having fun and being silly together. Now that Molly is getting older Caillie is always putting on a show to make Molly laugh. The other night when I was reading Molly a Spot book, (Spots First Walk – also known in our house as Spot Jalan Jalan Sendirian) Caillie pretended she was an interpreter and after every paragraph, she would make up her own translations into her pretend foreign language. And for whatever reason, Molly thought that was hilarious. It reminded me of the many times my sisters and I would laugh til we wet our pants when we were kids. I’ve also noticed that whenever Molly hurts herself and starts to cry, Birdy will start acting the clown to cheer her up. She’ll start up on some crazy song and dance act until Molly’s forgotten why she was crying and is giggling her head off instead.
But more than any of that good stuff, I love seeing my girls be kind to each other because I know they’ll take good care of each other after we’re long gone. I’m sure in the future they’ll help each other get over broken hearts, coach each other through childbirth and kid wrangling, baby sit each others kids and hopefully ask each other the tough questions like ‘Why on earth are you going out with him?’ or ‘What are you doing with your life?’ My sisters have done all that for me and more and I’m eternally grateful. Where would I be without my sisters?
Have you seen signs of bonding between your children? Were there any obvious turning points? What do you value about your own siblings if you have them?
Now I feel like a cuppa… with my sisters!