Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two Peas in a Pod

Reindeer by Gabby
They hear. We may not think so, but they do. They may not have the words to express it or the outlet to do so, but there is a little place they store it. They hear. They really do.

I know about this first hand. My sister, June, was my parents pride and joy. Whenever my parents met up with friends, my sister was the daughter they talked about. It wasn't her fault. My parents had spent two years taking care of my sister bedfast with rheumatic fever. That she recovered was a miracle. So, she deserved to be the favorite. Not to say she isn't talented. My sister is fantastic. She's smart, artistic and fun. But this isn't about my sister. This is about how children perceive that differential treatment.

Recently, a mother told me that it was natural to feel closer to one child. The mother was my daughter. The anger I had felt all my life surfaced. Then I stepped back and thought about it. Had I done this to my child?
By Sydney

My son and I have a great deal in common. We both love music and theatre. We both are observers and writers. So did that commonality cause my daughter to feel outside of that bond?

From birth on, my daughter had preferred her daddy's arms. For a first mom, it hurt. We were alone in Wisconsin, away from family. I needed to have that love from my daughter. I had the same bond with my daddy and wonder now if my mother had felt left out. Despite the efforts to build that relationship, my daughter saw it differently. Now we struggle to know one another.

By Gabby
I've learned a lesson late and want more for my little girls. With my granddaughters, I try to have one on one time making each the target of my attention. They are so different. Gabby is a whirlwind of energy. Her focus time is limited. She sees everything around her and reacts. She is positive and leaves joy in her wake. Sydney is creative and artistic. Everyone loves her for her kind heart and wit. Two different peas in the same pod.

Gabby often hears: "Don't run. Gabby, a little quieter, please. Gabby, what are you doing? Oh, Gabby.....". A bundle of energy.

We sit at the craft table. Sydney paints to perfection. Gabby paints with gusto. One has precise, beautiful art. The other has pure delight in the feel of the brush which reflects in the wonderful pictures she paints and draws. It is easy to ooh and aah over Sydney's pictures. Gabby's make me laugh. Each gifted with talent.

By Sydney
We grandparents have an 'evening' task. We have the ability to help each child find their own voice. We can give them self confidence and pride. We can perhaps empty those little areas where children keep the stray comments and actions that hurt.

By Gabby
A friend has two daughters. One is in gymnastics and pretty as a picture. The other child is has struggled with health and gets the hand-me-downs. When asked what she does (since her sister is deep into gymnastics), the little girl answers that she can't do anything because they don't have the money. The dark areas fill quickly when you are a child. The inequality whether imagined or not becomes a base that separates.

I am an adult who can look at her own past and understand. My sister and I are very close. I absolutely adore her.

We are the grandparents. We are the weights who can balance the differences and make it better. Two peas in a pod.

7 comments:

  1. Thanks, Jake. I can't imagine that an only child ever experiences this unintentional hurt. Perhaps we need to treat each child as an only child, teaching them to embrace the differences and one another.

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  2. I have a poll about this subject on my Facebook page. Just click on the poll tab.

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  3. Your words are very insightful. I was the only girl in my family with 4 brothers. Everyone always joked that I was the favorite. Now I think about my own children and grandchildren.

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