The Sibling Thing

The groom on the left, youngest brother in the middle, and me.

The groom on the left, youngest brother in the middle, and me.

My middle brother got married this weekend and it got me thinking a lot about siblings, both my own two younger brothers and the three little ladies that I had the privilege of bringing into this world.  I am a few years older than most of my middle brother's friends and a lot of them are newly married, newly pregnant, or have a young baby.  I cannot tell you how many of these friends asked me questions about my girls - questions about how far apart in age they are (2.5 years), do they get along (they are the best of friends, except when they're the worst of enemies), what's it like having all girls (a lot of pink laundry), and, the biggie, what's it like having three kids (I might need a refill of Chardonnay before answering).  

But seriously, I could see in their eyes that they really wanted to know.  They wanted to know what their future as parents of multiple young children might be like.  I remember that feeling.  It's a kind of desperation to know that it's possible to finish something totally overwhelming that you've already started, that you won't drown in a mess of your own making.  And my answer was always, it's totally insane.  Because it is.  It's crazy and exhausting and endless.  But what I regret not saying at the time is that it's the best kind of crazy possible.  Don't overthink it, just go with it.  Because while I've always known in my heart that I wanted to have three children, just as others know they want one or two or five, I was terrified of actually doing it.  I didn't know if I could handle raising three children (and there have certainly been times where I have been absolutely unable to handle it).  

But all through the wedding weekend, the thing I was most grateful for, after the fact that my brother was marrying one of the most incredible women I've ever met, was the presence of my siblings.  I loved seeing my middle brother standing proud at the end of that long aisle and watching as he danced with my daughters.  I loved choking down tears as I toasted him at the rehearsal dinner and listening as my younger brother fought the same feelings in his own toast at the wedding.  I loved pulling both of them aside to whisper inappropriate family jokes in their ears.  I loved being on their team.  And I realized that one of my greatest hopes for my own children is that they will have the same kind of bond with each other.  That they will go through life knowing that the relationship they have with each other is different from any other relationship in the entire world.  That they will stand up and toast each other at major life events but, more importantly, be there to share in the small ones.  That they will always feel like they are part of a team.  

Which brings me to a new problem that has recently arisen in Star Sisters world - the lack of a third Star Sister.  You see, my two older girls are entirely convinced that Coco and Lucy are basically stand-ins for themselves.  (They have conveniently forgotten that Coco and Lucy are not actually sisters, that a big idea of the book is that two girls found each other when both were at their loneliest.  Oh well).  And they are getting very concerned that their youngest sister is going to be upset that she's not represented.  So as I started going on and on about how maybe we could add in a third Star Sister but it would be difficult because only two magical necklaces were carved from the stones found in the river, my middle daughter announces: "Or Coco and Lucy could just get a puppy, it's the same thing as another sister."  And off my two big girls went, happy as can be at the thought of their sister being represented by an animal.  Problem solved!  And to think I thought this parenting thing was difficult!