The Surprise Gift
To my oldest…
Let me tell you a secret about something you’ve forgotten.
In the beginning of our story, God said, “Let this be a family of four!” He added the finishing touches to our creation, and it was decidedly NOT good.
From your perspective, of course.
It’s not specifically that you didn’t like your little sister, but you considered her with a passing disdain that said, “Meh, not impressed. At least she won’t be here long.”
Because we did decide to keep her. And we tried ALL the things to get you to take to her better. We showered you with love and attention, we convinced you to be our big “helper,” and we spoiled you rotten to earn your favor (with gifts from the baby, of course). Eventually, after months and months of doing this little dance of “will she stay, or will she go,” you realized you were stuck with a buddy you never asked for and certainly didn’t want.
I worried about how we would ever navigate this growing chasm between you.
You picked on her. You were extra rough and rambunctious as a toddler. You were jealous.
It was hard.
But, somewhere in there, even early on, the cogs started moving. You contemplated the benefits of there being two of you. I made it a point to explain…over and over again…that you would always be able to lean on each other. If you were on the same side, at least you’d always have a friend. A BEST friend. A partner in crime, if you will.
She started to grow on you. You didn’t have much choice, to be honest, because as soon as she could move, she was on your heels. She preferred your favorite things, cheerfully echoed your words, and mirrored all your movements.
From the pesky little menace trailing behind you grew an enthusiastic playmate. Then a happy companion. Then a best-loved friend. It was a joy to watch your bond grow. Now, as you transition from toddlerhood into little kid years, your friendship continues to bloom into something magical and sweet.
You laugh together around the clock, and you rarely let me in on the joke. You spend your days as monsters and mermaids and dinosaurs, playing in the mud, running through the house, painting my treasured farmhouse table (instead of the piles of paper sitting on top of it), screaming for no apparent reason, throwing each other in a jail made of pillows, breaking out of jail, crafting stories, and making memories. You look out for each other.
I’m awestruck when I see you protecting her from harm. My cup overflows when I hear you soothing her cries and calming her fears. And it patches old tears in my heart when you exchange your nightly I-love-yous.
You two are in this thing together. All of it. You’re everything to each other during the short term of the pandemic, you’re roommates for the long haul, and you’re doing the rest of this beautiful life as a powerhouse duo.
It’s a connection that can lift you up and push you forward all the days of your life.
What a privilege it is to have a front row seat to watch this friendship blossom! And what a joy it is to be your mama.
So, as you grow, remember…so many good things will come to you in the packages you least expect.