Growing up I’ve always had a road map based on my older sister’s path. I couldn’t even begin to count the things I’ve learned from her. She taught me to love myself for being silly and care-free. She cherished my gummy smile and helped me embrace my goofy self. She taught me to value myself highly and make boys work for my affections. She reminded me time and time again to remain grounded and look outwardly when I’d get caught up in my own high school or college world. She taught me how to navigate the womanly body changes and made it her personal duty to break me of breathing with my mouth hanging open (thank you Angie!!!). 😉 I could never imagine my life without a sibling as wise and patient as my sister. I cringe to think of how I’d have turned out without her influence in my life. To this day I look to her for my cues in life and I am very grateful to walk through every season with my sibling.

As kids we went through the inevitable arguments and tears but my mom always made us turn to one another and hug. Hugging someone you’re so angry with is the last thing you want to do and it didn’t end there. We had to say three things we loved about each other. It was always painful but I’ll admit it broke the ice. It forced us to see one another for the good rather than letting one incident tear us apart. Mom forced us to do this practice even into middle/high school. haha! Even if she was joking and we were all laughing with tears in our eyes we did it. They never allowed fighting, name-calling, and distention to carry on between us. They raised us to support each other whole-heartedly and to be each others’ biggest cheerleaders. I SO appreciate the fact that my parents cultivated such a great relationship for us. It’s a page I’m taking from their book because it’s meant the world to me.

Ever since Tuck came home from the hospital, I’ve been teaching Emmy what being a good big sister means. I’ve taught her to look out for him any time we’re away. Whenever I leave the two of them with a babysitter or at the gym I remind her to take care of Tucker and be his protector. During the times she gets annoyed of him getting into her toys or in her way, I try to express how much he loves her and just wants to be wherever she is. When he gets hurt, I encourage her to think about how he feels and comfort him. Empathy is not an easy thing for a three year old so it’s always a work in progress but I’m thankful to see their budding friendship building.

I can’t explain the way my heart explodes when I see them laughing and playing together. Best mom feeling ever. Their latest game is “going on dates to the castle” (our guest room). I’ll be getting ready in my bathroom and hear them squealing, chasing one another to the bedroom and Emmy yelling, “C’mon Tuck!! Follow me! C’mon buddy!”

My best amateur advice for raising siblings is not to allow bickering or rude behavior, writing it off as “that’s what siblings do”. It’s so important to teach kids to respect one another and treasure their relationship. While I know there will be arguments and issues throughout their lives, I hope to foster a close sibling relationship that’s full of love and support for one another.

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