My husband and I are family people. Family is very important to us and we would do anything to help others out. We would love to have the big family gatherings where cousins are running around playing, grandparents are spinning tales from earlier years, and everyone is chatting and interacting. We would love it, but we definitely don’t have it.
My family is, for the most part, non-existent. My grandparents and parents are dead. My siblings, in their rush to get away from our father, left as soon as they could and never looked back. They are quick to contact us when they need something, but otherwise they are all off in their own little worlds.
My husband’s family is its own dysfunctional mess. My mother-in-law is a narcissist, and my father-in-law is an enabler and want-to-be womanizer. His brothers have their own issues. In the past, I’ve told my husband that I would be happy if our siblings sent a postcard once a year saying, “Hope the kids are still alive.” That would at least show they cared.
It isn’t surprising, due to our inherent lack of family, that we decided to have, based on today’s quota of two children, a larger family. We decided to make our own loving family, and we have.
There are many books on the subject of attachment parenting and the bonds between parents and children, but rarely do you find anything mentioning the bonds between attached siblings. I can’t say my children never argue, but they always work it out and the love they have for one another is apparent. They hold hands when walking down a sidewalk (even the older two, at the ripe old ages of 7 1/2 and 5 1/2). They constantly tell one another that they love the other person and give one another hugs and kisses. When watching a movie or reading books, I often find them intertwined, lounging on someone else, with their legs mixed with someone else’s, or just snuggled up with everyone.
I love watching them interact as siblings. The love and respect they show each other is different than anything I or my husband were ever fortunate enough to experience. Their relationships are strong and will truly be lifelong relationships.
Just when I think I’m making peace with the possibility that Kieran might be an only, I read this – this is exactly what I have hoped that Kieran would get to experience! Just beautiful.
I grew up playing with my cousins at the beach and spending Christmases in a very large family group. But I am only one of two and my brother doesn’t want children. My husband’s siblings have kids but live too far away for our girls to have even met them. So we are doing what you are doing. We are also creating a community of close friends that we spend Christmas with whose kids ours play with, and that is our new family.
Your children’s relationships with each other are just beautiful. I dream of such a relationship for my boys. How do you think you instilled this in them? Is it simply a result of consensual living? Or were there conscious steps along the way…?
I really think it is consensual living. Neither my husband nor myself ever envisioned that siblinghood could be quite like this.