I don’t have many conflicts being a parent. I kind of see in black and white and Keith and I just make our decisions on parenting based on our gut feeling at the moment. We probably should but haven’t read any parenting books and just kind of wing it. Maybe using our own parents parenting style to help us make our way in this crazy world of raising kids has been a rock solid guide since I think to this point we have raised decent kids. Heck I’ll even say that I think we have raised two very thoughtful caring little girls who have a good sense of who they are and a good world view for their young ages.
But I recently had a little dilemma that I had to seek some advice about (Keith wasn’t as conflicted as I!). Isabella was invited by one of our dearest and closest friends in the whole wide world to accompany her and her daughter (who they have been friends since they were crawling, friends for 9+ years!) to Hawaii for a week. The dilemma wasn’t whether or not Bella should go (although I have to say I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to my kids). But I trust my friend with my kids as if they were her own.
What made me ponder was how Gabby would feel if her sister went away for a week without her. I called my sister to ask her how she would have felt if this had happened to her. I am the older sister so I knew that at some point my sister had to have felt left out because she was younger. Granted I was never lucky enough to travel to Hawaii at ten, but there had to have been some something that my sister would remember. But her response was perfect. She said that she knew when I was able to do something that she couldn’t do it was usually based on age. That she just wasn’t old enough to do it. That reasoning worked for me. As bad as I felt having Gabby a little bit hurt by not having the same opportunities as her sister – I realized after talking to my sister that she would have her own opportunities but in due time. After all, she just turned 8. She would have a chance to do something fun and adventurous with one of her friends – but once she was a little bit older. This made me feel so much better.
My mom confirmed the same thought process. As the kids get older they are going to have different opportunities. They can’t do everything together. Some times it will be hard for the other to understand why they can’t participate but the plain hard truth is that they are 2.5 years apart and Bella will continue to have many experiences first solely based on age.
Looking at the two of them I struggle to even imagine that they are growing and maturing this quickly right before my eyes. What touches me the most is how attached they are to each other. I think for Gabby her wanting to be on the trip is more about her wanting to do everything with her sister. For Bella, her first question on the phone was “How is sissy? Can I talk to her”. To share all these fun moments together. I think it is really hard for Gabby to wrap her head around the idea of not being with her sister on a trip, in car line after school, brushing their teeth together before bed, chatting in bed at night (yes they each have their own room but most nights they sleep together) of just driving each other crazy day in and day out.
As hard as it is for me to see them becoming this independent it is rewarding to see how dependent they are on each other. I mean that in the best way possible. The bond is beautiful.
Keith and I are two lucky parents!