“Siblings Without Rivalry is a parenting book that came out when my kids were little, another one is “How to Talk So Kids will Listen, and Listen so Kids Will Talk”. Although I certainly gave the theories a good whirl, when do I find out if it worked or not?
I did Home Child Care from the time my daughter was 6 months old. I usually had a full house 7 kids total of various ages. It was through a local licensed agency, they provided support materials, an ECE reference person, and educational opportunities. One of which was parenting classes. My own children are 18 months apart. I wanted to have my children before I was 30 and fairly close together, because my own mother was 41 when I was born, and the youngest sibling after me is 8 years older. The parenting classes were good because they also gave me a chance to talk to other parents with kids the same age. Living in a small community and with the development of social media, I get to see how the kids mature into young adults. Someone once told me you can try to teach your children the tools they need for life til about age 10. After that, it is pretty much watch and keep them as safe as possible, oh and provide transportation. We had a huge back yard, a lake near by, schools, a yellow lab. Life was pretty awesome.
My son, is still a kid I think. Oh he can survive on his own. A unique individual. However, there are times, I know, that my daughter would have …murdered him… so probably would have been better to be closer to 2 years apart, or 4…but then, my two oldest siblings are two years apart. How did that turn out??? They both live happily a nation apart.
Also read the Dance of Anger – you know – don’t get in the middle of an argument. Oldest in my family -boy, then girl. Boy was mothers son, could do no wrong, as far as I knew, and the same for my sister, father’s daughter, could do no wrong – next is another sister – only 11 months younger – and I believe that they have intelligence as a common interest. Everyone was living their lives, marriage, divorce for both my brothers and my oldest sister. Kids. Then my younger sister of the two passed away from cancer when she was 42. I was 32. Her death changed our family dynamics. My dad was also diagnosed with prostate cancer at the same time -he was 72. My sisters’ prognosis was not good – melanoma had resurfaced from a mole removed 10 year prior and it had spread all over. She lived in BC at that time, and me and my other sister in Ontario. At first we hoped for the best, and then near the end, my sister and I flew out to BC to say good-bye. It was hell. We got to BC, but the flight to Kelowna was delayed for fog 3 times, we didn’t know if we would make it in time. My older sister and I rebonded. Mary only just knew who we were. That was the first time I saw what cancer can do to someone. I had spent a lot of summers with my sister Mary, between the ages of 10 through 18, she was like a surrogate mother to me. She and her husband Ian took me into their family, we went on trips, to Europe, Florida, Maine – She tried to have children but couldn’t due to a condition called endimetrosis. She lost twins So, her husband got her a yellow lab puppy, who eventually became our own family dog….When my dad passed away, my eldest brother who migrated to California came back for the funeral and although he is far away – the line of communication is open – a positive…..and my mom came up to visit more…when my husband passed away my mother was very angry – again cancer and he was 49. Children are not supposed to die before parents. A different way to bond, but my mother and I did become closer, and her ability to carry on and do so many things after my dad passed also taught me that I could do the same, eventually. Sadly, my mom passed away a year and a bit after my husband, so I became a basket case. Maybe not on the outside, but on the inside I was ripped. I think I retreated from family for a bit after that.
Life is a bit foggy for a couple of years, although I have pictures…my kids survived, and my sister Barbara stayed in touch. As did my brothers, but you know how guys are…My brother went to Britain to spread my mother’s ashes. I don’t even remember it as being a wish of hers. I think I would have liked to go, but I didn’t know til he was already gone. Really?? I am not saying I would have gone, but it would have been nice to be asked. Now this brother is 8 years older than I. He was pissed when I was born. He was no longer the baby. I didn’t find out this information until he told me, I was in my 40s I think. I can’t say I know him that well. I really don’t know my oldest brother that well either. I mean by the time I was 10 they were all gone, moved out. Except for Thom – my dad took a new job, so we moved and he stayed in our home town to finish highschool. So he was abandoned. Not really, he moved in with his girlfriend’s family who took quite good care of him and even after he divorced his wife, they stayed good friends. It is amazing the perceptions we can have. There is alot I don’t know about them, but they are my family and I love them. The parents that they knew growing up are different from the parents I had. Mom and dad were pretty relaxed by the time I became a teenager. There was only one real rule that I remember – tell them where I was going, when I would be home, and call if the plan changes.
We didn’t have facebook then. Keeping the lines of communication open is important to me. It is easist to stay in touch with my sister. She lives a few hours away, but we do try to stay connected. My eldest brother is still in California, I do email him from time to time to make sure everything is good. My other brother lives in the same town as my sister, and has a blackberry like myself, so we can communicate at the touch of a button – but I haven’t seen him in person for two years. I really don’t want the next time I see him to be a funeral. I suppose we could Skype??? Family dynamics are so different from one family to the next. My parents were born in 1919 and 1920. Dad was in WWII, they had 5 kids, mom thought she was going through menopause when she got pregnant with me. Perfect family ? It was my perfect family, because it was mine. Issues? Lots. I know it was completely different for my brothers and sisters, and my only regret might be not knowing what they were like when they were little. Did my mother have any parenting books? Not likely, but then she belonged to the UCW, played bridge, and was involved in the community back when neighbours knew everyone on the block, so I am sure she got lots of advice. She also had girl friends – ones that I knew she kept for ever.
When you lose someone you love you look for the gifts they gave you, and sometimes you don’t find those gifts right away. I still cherish the girlfriends I made in my teens, so maybe my mom gave me that. My sister Mary – can’t quite put that gift into words yet. My husband Gord – of course the gift of my children – and the love of living in Muskoka. Both my parents loved to read – but I will give that to my dad, I fondly remember Saturday and Sunday mornings spent reading the comics while he devoured the Toronto Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the Globe and Mail and then starting reading a mystery… I think I still have a lot to learn from my brothers and my sister and I look forward to seeing where we go from here. All of these thoughts were brought on by reading another blog – Rodelena -who knew?