The kids just left for school and the house is quiet – well, except for the whirling fan and the microwave reheating my steelcut oats, and the cat meowing at the door because he thinks that love is more important right now that food and water.
And maybe he’s right.
My two oldest kids began school a day earlier than my elementary-aged daughter. She, upon learning that she’d have mom all to herself that day, sang out to her siblings, “I get to cuddle all day with Mom and you don’t.”
Hmmm. So much for the love. Or, rather, the love is there, but it’s irrevocably tinged with sibling rivalry. I suppose that’s normal.
I was the youngest in my family – by about eight years. By the time I was cognizant of much beyond myself in the world, my oldest sister was graduating and moving on. My other sister stuck around a little longer, and I have vivid memories of playing Legos with her the week that she got married. She stayed in the same town, which meant that even though she had her own home and family, I still had a sibling around. Still had someone to argue with from time to time about stupid sister things.
But then we moved away and suddenly I was an only child – at least in a day-to-day kind of way. There was no one to argue with. No one to complain to about the injustices of youth. No one to hang out with while watching The Dukes of Hazard.
I missed her very much. But I also liked having our parents to myself. No, I don’t think I taunted, “I get to cuddle all day with Mom and you don’t” – I was a little old for that – but I did get to move to Europe with our parents and my sisters didn’t.
Of course in my mind that was justice, because I’d always been jealous that they’d lived in Okinawa before I was born and I’d missed out. Not that they were old enough to remember it.
Ah, yes, sibling rivalry.
Yesterday, as I picked my kids up from school, it dawned on one of them that it was their (I’ll use that gender-neutral term) turn to sit in the front seat. This realization hit after we had pulled away and were cruising down Crailsheim Drive. “I get it the next two days to make up for it!”
Fine. Yes. Have the seat.
Sibling rivalry. At any age, in any decade, it’s alive and well.
Mores the pity.
The microwave has been beeping at me for 20 minutes. I’ll need to reheat my oatmeal yet again. But that’s okay. I need to think through dinner anyway. Need to figure out which one of my children neglected to take out the recycling which is spilling all over the kitchen floor. Though I’m sure it’s not their fault. No, of course not. It’s their sibling’s.