Thursday, June 7, 2012
Today was not the last day of school, but it was Mr. T's end of the year celebration. I stepped out on a parenting limb here and decided to have Miss E skip reading group and come to his celebration (held in the middle of the school day). I'm not going to lie, it felt....awkward. Nobody else brought their older kids, just younger siblings, but I had thought about this a lot and felt it was important for quite a few reasons.
1) Miss E helped Mr. T a lot this year. Mostly she read out loud to him - a lot. She helped him with his homework, walked him into school and dropped him off at his classroom. She waved at him at assemblies and when they passed each other in the hall.
2) Mr. T has attended about 8 million events such as these where she was the star so to say, and he was the sibling in the background. While this is fine, she started to think that she was always the star. It's not because she's selfish or mean-spirited, it's just something we have unconsciously let happen to her, as the oldest kid. I don't think it's that uncommon. We are now re-learning how to sit in the background and celebrate someone else.
3) With Peter being gone so much during inconvenient times (read nights and weekends), I have really tried to foster a sense of team for the kids and I. They, especially Miss E, have had to step into grown up roles more often than other kids their age. If Peter is at work for a 24 or 48 hour shift and I am sick or have a migraine, Miss E is asked to step up and get breakfast for her and Mr. T, help get him ready for school and (once or twice) get dinner together. The three of us support each other and help each other out when needed. What better way for her to show Mr. T that he is important to us than to have her miss reading to come celebrate with him? Or to show her the importance that I place on her role in the family?
The celebration was adorable, he got to show us several books of work that he did this year, they sang a song, did the "3 bears rap"and ate Pirate's booty and drank Capri Sun. Mr. T was SO SERIOUS during the songs, I could tell he was working very hard to remember the words and the hand motions. Then I got flowers for being the room parent, I gave his teacher her gift, everyone clapped and Miss E went back to class and Mr. T and I went home. All in all it was a pretty cool event.
In the end, I know in my heart I made the right decision for us despite the few odd looks we got. When Miss E got home from school, Mr. T immediately ran up to show her his poem binder and I knew she was tired and wanted a snack and some peace and quiet, but she looked at it and acted more interested than she really was as a kindness to him. I really really really want my kids to be more than friends as grown ups and as I look around me I don't see that many siblings that are. I'm consciously deciding to try something different than the fairness or equal route that most families go. One thing I've been a parent long enough to know though, is that sometimes things turn out the way they are going to turn out. It's like trying to get your kid to sleep through the night, you can try 10 million methods and then one day they just will. Whether your methods and attempts helped at all or if it was just time, who's to say? It just happens. I could be making a futile attempt to mainipulate a relationship that is charting it's own course or I could be making a difference - will I ever know which one? Probably not. But does it really matter? Today, they were a team.