I’ll be honest, I’m the first person to admit that I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I didn’t have any siblings who were close to my age. By the time I could form full sentences, my three older sisters had either moved out, or were close to it, and my step-sister and I never lived together. Sibling rivalry, I know it not.
I thought I understood the dynamics from watching my friends with their brothers and sisters. I remember the occasional name-calling or shoving match and thinking that I was glad I didn’t have to share my room, but I don’t remember seeing anyone have complete and utter disdain for a sibling until my kids came along.
Everyone tells me it’s normal. Everyone says that it’s just a phase and my kids will grow up to be kind to each other, but right now things seem awfully bleak.
I understand that it’s hard to be a 13 year old girl, because a long, long time ago I was one. You know how people say there are only two things which are certain; death and taxes? Well, if you’re a girl you can say death, taxes and hormones and when you’re 13, the wicked ones are raging. I would imagine it’s especially hard to be a 13 year girl and have a little brother with special needs. That is something I can’t pretend to comprehend.
What I do know is that my 10 year old son and his many quirks and needs are sometimes painful for all of us, but always painful for some of us. And, by some of us I mean my daughter and only my daughter. Every single thing he does annoys her. Greatly.
When you’re a teenager there isn’t anything worse than not fitting in and her little brother doesn’t. As much as I would love for her to swoop in and be the big sister who helps him with homework, reads to him at night and protects him from bullies, I have accepted this is unrealistic. It’s just not who she is. She’s more of the eye-rolling, never-speaking, ignoring type.
Of course, there are a lot of things I want that I can’t have, but giving up this dream feels harder than most. It wasn’t along the lines of having a home in Hawaii or the leading role in The Notebook alongside Ryan Gosling; this sibling-love thing seemed doable. Instead, it has turned into a sort of love-story gone wrong; mutual admiration morphed into him adoring her and asking about her day and her yelling at him and slamming the bedroom door with an, “UGH!” and “You are so annoying!” thrown in for good measure. I’ve seen people divorce over less.
Maybe I should stop expecting so much from my dreams and just be happy if they don’t end up killing each other.