Skip to content

The road is paved with sibling gold

February 22, 2010

The kids find each other in the dark of the morning.

I lift a sleep-startled ear towards the sounds of squeaky voices carrying on an exchange endemic to two small people who share everything from parents to underwear; for whom “personal space” constitutes stepping back one inch, so as to still get a good vantage while the other pukes into the toilet. (this is not fiction).

“Coley, now I read you a book.” Rose announces and then parses out the first sentence, duly memorized, from our new favorite, Skippyjon Jones.

“Wait Rosie, let me get Rammy and Sealy.”

“Okay Coley, you go get yer fwiends.

Dan rolls over and is asleep again in an instant, but I am drawn into the early morning show of my two children, bending my ears to what passes as entertainment these days.

Two years ago, when Col was 2 ½ and Rose was a koala on the eucalyptus tree of my body, everything was wrong. Col wanted to stay another ten hours at the train station, clutching sooty railroad spikes like old friends and dancing to the tune of ear-splitting train whistles. Rose wanted to get back home for a quiet nap, barnacled up against my skin. I felt like a circus juggler, trying to keep diapers and cheddar bunnies and flaming sticks of fire all in the air at once.

But my new refrain is: these kids are so lucky to have each other. They understand each other the way my friend, a biologist who studies salamanders, understands every slippery ripple of her amphibian subjects. Their forgiveness and acceptance for each other is boundless; anger disappears like a balloon popping. While I’m still wringing my mind over the raw scratch Col left under Rose’s eye, she is instructing him in the next scene of their dramatic play: “Coley, now you go to sleep. I sing you a lullaby.”

When I have no patience for Rose, who’s camped out at the bottom of our stairs whining that she needs to be carried up, Col valiantly steps in: “I’ll help you up Rose.” And the two of them lumber up, slightly out of synch—clomp, lurch, clomp, lurch—hand in small hand.

Col and Rose assist each other daily in annihilating gender roles, which pleases me tremendously. At five years old Col has never shrugged off an opportunity to dress up in a poodle skirt and clack around in high heels, like some gum-cracking 1950’s diner waitress. And Rose can nail the cat with a ball from her lacrosse stick and play a flawless round of “garbage trucks.”

And yet, there is great understanding of each others’ differences. When it’s bedtime and everyone in the house is scrambling for Rose’s ducky, she eventually remembers she put her nighttime friend in her cabinet “so Col not shoot her.”

These two are a team; they go together  like peanut butter and honey, rice and beans or the melodic sounds and brilliant poetry of Simon and Garfunkel. Col inspires courage in Rose because if there’s an envelope to push, he’s heaving it over the edge; And Rose is teaching Col that there are more than just two emotions, “good” and “not-good.”

I can only hope they’ll seek each other out in the dark of the morning ten years from now, but I do hope by then they each have their own underwear.

*previously published in the Durango Herald

Col is 2, Rose is 2 months

Child labor

Edging in on Col

20 Comments leave one →
  1. abozza permalink
    February 22, 2010 10:52 am

    Beautiful to read.

    I’ve got some of that going on over here, as well!

  2. February 22, 2010 11:31 am

    lovely. *almost* makes me regret not having a second child.

    just found your blog. it’s refreshing to find insightful, well written posts. i’m sure i’ll be back.

  3. February 22, 2010 11:44 am

    As an only child, I always imagined the scratching/fighting bits, not the sharing/helping ones. My kiddos are teaching me more every day. And, like you, I’m hopeful they’ll go off to college with their own underwear. =>

  4. February 22, 2010 1:19 pm

    What great pics of that sibling bond! I especially love the one where Cole is feeding Rose. Hawthorn has begun to be fascinated in feeding Lake too and it is too funny to see Lake do the dive toward the spoon of food held by someone not much older then them. So special.


  5. February 22, 2010 1:24 pm

    Ooooh, Mama. Those two make my clock tick!
    Love to you all!

  6. February 22, 2010 2:44 pm

    Oh, this makes me want another!

  7. February 22, 2010 3:41 pm

    I love this post! For one, you’re writing is so beautiful. Captivating. For two, just hours ago, I caught the first glimpse of Theo & Sully actually playing together and my heart became an instant wad of goo. The first time I ever had that same feeling…how amazing that they have each other, and will grow up together as brothers and most importantly (hopefully) friends.

  8. February 22, 2010 8:48 pm

    oh can i relate to this.

    from the crazy juggling of the early years (i think our kids are about the same age difference ~ mine are 22 mos) to the fights that melt into silly play.

    we recently pushed our kids’ mattresses together (in hopes of keeping them both in their bed and not in ours) and they now sleep all curled up like two little kittens.

    it just melts me to see how much they love each other.

  9. February 22, 2010 9:46 pm

    This makes me smile…

    It makes me remember the joy of youth with my own siblings! There really is nothing like a ready-made best friend!!


    And, by the way, if my younger sister is any kind of standard, don’t get your hopes up on the whole underwear issue. She ran out while visiting me a few weeks ago, and we had to make a quick trip to get her some more. Cause, dude, it just wasn’t happenin’ like it did when we were kids. What’s mine is mine if I wear it on muh booty.

  10. February 22, 2010 9:47 pm

    By the way, that comment above was me, Cam, not Rubi Slippers, that’s a WP I’m working on for a friend of mine…Sorry ’bout that!

  11. February 23, 2010 4:15 am

    These are precious moments. Come on over, we are doing a giveaway you might like…!

  12. February 23, 2010 3:43 pm

    I love the way you write. My children now are in their 30s with kids of there own. This post brought back so many fabulous early morning memories. Thanks so much.

  13. February 23, 2010 4:07 pm

    So sweet! I adore the picture of Col reading to Rose. That was me as a two year old reading to my newborn sister in her crib. My mom searched the house all over for me, only to find that I had climbed in to read to my new little sister. That boy obviously knows that books mean love. And then, the last picture of the two of them baby-wearing. Priceless.

  14. February 23, 2010 4:36 pm

    So lovely. In the moment, I was less-than-happy-enough to have my first two 20 months apart. Within months, though, I was thrilled. Glad these two have each other.

  15. February 23, 2010 5:36 pm

    Ahh, sibling love. Truly, how special it is to watch that relationship grow.
    I love the koala reference, and love that your two are about the same age apart as my two olderst gals.
    I like what you have to say and thanks for your baby-by-the-sea comment not so long ago. I stumbled upon you through MamaMayIWrites & DigThisChick, as I’m an old pal of those two talented ladies.

  16. Linda permalink
    February 23, 2010 8:04 pm

    they are soooo f-ing cute!

  17. February 23, 2010 11:20 pm

    This is so sweet. I love to step back and watch Mae and Otto be brother and sister. I really appreciate the way you capture it. The love for your little ones always puts a big smile on this girls face. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Always a pleasure to read your words friend.

  18. February 23, 2010 11:22 pm

    I taggged you in a post I am writing for tomorrow. You can play along if you want..or not. It is sharing 10 simple things that make you happy and then picking ten people to pass it along to. You are one I picked.
    Good night from Montana,

  19. February 24, 2010 9:38 am

    Wow. This makes me want to try for number two. Like now. I’ve never had a sibling and can’t wait for my daughter to have one. This is what I’d imagined them to be. *fingers crossed*

    I’m glad I found your blog. It’s inspiring to see the poetry in your prose.

    I love writing and have found my blog to be an outlet of sorts, although my newer posts have been rather short due to the sheer lack of time. You’ve inspired me to stay true to my own form.

  20. February 24, 2010 10:27 am

    It’s so nice when they start playing together. It takes a lot of pressure off me. My daughter will take Eli to the bathroom. Solomon helps Eli with legos. My kids are so close, I hope they remember when they’re older!

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s