Brother and Sister Stuff

Last week, Stephen had a track meet and Lindsey was able to attend. Normally she’s in a volleyball tournament or practice so she hasn’t seen him run. This is a good place to pause in our story to note that Stephen is not going to set any world records at track. I’m not sure to this day what motivated him to do it except that he likes to run and random adults, that are not his parents told him, “You should run track.” I’m grateful that he was brave enough to get outside his box, but now my Saturdays are spent watching volleyball AND track and field. Gracias, to all the encouragers.

Lindsey was pretty into the track meet, (and even before I bought her Skittles at concessions), which is news because Stephen and Lindsey are not big fans of each other. They attend each other’s events only when it is compulsory. Linds hung in there for 2+ hours (we came late, because I can’t even with these all day track meets) waiting for Stephen’s events. She thinks he is annoying most days, and has asked in the past if it is too late to drop him at a fire station, but here is what happened as time drew near for him to run…..

She was nervous. She was worried about him. She had so much empathy for him waiting to take his place on the track. “Oh my gosh, he must be so nervous right now. I can only imagine how this must feel.”

She was confident for him. “He’s going to finish OK, Mom. Look at his stride. He’s totally got this!”

She could see his positives. If they were just peers, no relation, they would never choose to hang out together. Yet she could watch him run his race and say, “He did so good! I can’t believe how strong he finished!”

Listen to me: My kids are not best friends. They do not hang together a lot (although I do think they would have each other’s back in a bar fight). Sometimes, I wonder what their adult relationship will look like. I remember years and years ago, reading from a magazine about JFK Jr and his sister Caroline….”At Caroline’s 1986 wedding rehearsal dinner, Doris Kearns Goodwin complimented Jackie on her children’s obvious bond with one another. That, Jackie told her, “is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

I never forgot that. It’s easy for same gender siblings to form a bond because of the commonality of life experience. That’s not the case with a son and daughter. Not only are they wired differently, they are physically different, and those differences are glaring at this stage of life. Today though, it didn’t matter because younger sister said to older brother, “You ran a good race today. I think you could actually finish better than that, because you had pretty good speed at the end.” Stephen enjoyed this praise from her and as we left, they walked together behind me talking about pacing and other track-y things.

While I’m not ready to call them the Kennedy siblings, and I’m still not sure what Jackie did to foster closeness, I feel pretty good that they are making a relationship tthat will matter in the long term. When I see them together, I give them their own space, and THAT might be the thing that you do as the mom. Let them build the relationship without interference, so it is truly theirs. Maybe the best thing is letting them figure it out together.

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