Sibling love. What a strange phenomenon this is, especially as it is often manifested as sibling rivalry! But, when you really consider it, why should you love this person with whom you are forced to live throughout your childhood, when you have had absolutely no say in their existence nor have “chosen” to spend your formative years with them? I have not yet met a family of two or more children which doesn’t experience some aspects of jealousy, competition or fighting – honestly, my two can bicker for England some days – and this is a rivalry which can start even before the birth of the second child. It’s frustrating, it’s stressful, it’s distressing, and it’s generally hard to know how to stop it or even how involved you should get, as a parent.
But it is also very usual for them to be the worst of enemies one day (or even one minute) and the best of friends the next, which is, I guess, what sums up “sibling love”, and it is the best of this which we have seen in our home over the past couple of weeks. G and B are amazing at going from seeming to detest each other to adore each other in a heartbeat, but it was very clear, when B went away on his school trip to Italy for eight days, that they do have a profound, if mystifying and perplexing, love for each other. G was upset that B was going and was very aware of how much she was going to miss him. B, in turn, comprehends what a sensitive soul G is, so texted on his first evening away to check that she was okay. The first few days were strange, with a definite alteration in our family dynamic, but we all knew that B was fine and was having a great time, so the week passed quite quickly. However, G was so excited for him to come home, that, by Friday, she had planned a special meal and decorated the house with homemade “welcome home” bunting and postcards. She doesn’t hide the fact that he drives her to despair half of the time, but, at the end of the day, they love each other dearly. As Erica E. Goode said, “Sibling relationships…outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust.”
Siblings are the ones who are with you from the very beginning of your life to the very end and it is maybe this subconscious knowledge which leads to this depth of love. All we can do is hope that they stay as close to and fond of each other into adulthood, making the most of this mysterious relationship, which is the result of mere chance.