The other night, my daughter had some friends over. She and one of her brothers were goofing around, talking and laughing, and messing with each other. Her friends were cracking up, and one of them was on the ground because he was laughing so hard! It made me think back to how much fun, and sometimes how hard it was, to grow up as the youngest of six kids.
The memories I have from my childhood are mostly positive ones. Thankfully, my two older brothers and three older sisters cared for me and seemed to genuinely love me. With me being the youngest, and four years apart from my closest sibling, I don’t have the same experiences and stories to share as they do. A lot of what comes to mind first are some of the crazy stories that we all laugh about now!
I clearly remember being the peon of the family. We lived in a large house in Berlin, Germany when I was young. My siblings would often send me down to the basement to get them drinks. I was terrified to go down there! Secretly I think they knew that, and they sent me down anyway to torture me! I can almost hear the creaking of the heavy door, and smell the pungent odor that created scary pictures in my mind of what awaited me at the bottom of the steps. Somehow, I always made it, and got them what they wanted. Little did they know, I sprinted up the steps to avoid the serial killer that I imagined was waiting to slash my ankles as I went back upstairs!
Sharing a bedroom also led to some good times. My sister, the one who is four years older than I am, loved to send me on missions at night. My mom had various candies in a blue, heavy glass bowl in the front room of our house. Guess who got to sneak around and retrieve sweets for her sister? Yep, me! I am laughing now, thinking of her summoning me when we were supposed to be asleep, “Orannggeee, graappeeee, lemmmoonnnn!” she would whisper to me, trying to convince me to run out and grab some candy for her. Even though I was terrified of getting caught, I would tip-toe down the hall to get the sweets for her. I tossed them to her as I dove back into bed, snuggling under the covers before my dad could figure out that I had left our room!
I also remember that same sister introducing me to her friends as her little brother. I was mortified! I thought she was so cruel to do that to me, and wondered what I had donen to deserve being treated that way. Now I realize that it is pretty much the norm for kids to torture each other growing up. As a matter of fact, my brothers once put me in a sleeping bag, tied the top shut, and tickled me until I wet my pants! My own kids have tormented each other here and there, and they have survived! So did I, and honestly my sisters are now my best friends! You can read about a recent sister weekend we had, which truly blessed me! Check it out here…http://fredericksburgparent.net/blogs/living-purposefully/3328-lake-shehawken.
If any of you are currently struggling with your own kids, wondering how you will survive with the seemingly constant bickering, arguing, and calls for you to play referee, hang in there! I assure you that your children are simply delving into the realm of figuring out who they are, while establishing some family hierarchy. The family that plays together stays together. You’ll see in time that their relationships will grow, even as they irritate and annoy each other. (Not to mention you, sometimes!). Siblings have a special bond that grows stronger with time. Try to grin and join in the fun if you can stand it!