Thursday, April 9, 2015

Watching Them Play

The weather has turned almost spring-like lately, going as high at the upper 50s, which after the winter we’ve just endured feels practically balmy.

With all this lovely, if rainy, weather in the area, the girls have been playing outside a lot. We have a nice backyard with a wooden swing/play set and the girls use it to swing, climb, run around.

I watched them play the other day, one child as tall as some adults and the other all arms and legs as she chased her sister.

Alyssa taught Olivia to climb on our gas tank. She (Alyssa) moved a bench from the deck so that climbing would be easier for Olivia.

I marveled as they laughed and climbed and chased. I felt such a sense of contentment watching them. Sisters. This was something I imagined when I was pregnant with Olivia. I pictured them confiding in each other, playing with each other, sharing secrets, marveling over how annoying their parents were.

When Olivia was born so sick and then diagnosed with 5p- syndrome, I worried so much that Alyssa was going to miss out on that kind of sibling relationship. Sure, I knew she wouldn’t know any different from what she had, she’d never know she was missing out on a friendship and comradery but I would have known. I would have been sad for her to miss out on that even if she didn’t even know she was missing it.

But there they were, actually enjoying each other’s company. Laughing as Orville pounced at them when they ran around the corner of the house.

There were moments in O’s infancy and toddlerhood that I truly worried about how Olivia’s entire life was affecting Alyssa. Was she being pushed aside as we dealt with all of Olivia’s needs? Was she getting the attention she deserved while we were seeing doctors and therapists and specialists? Did she know that she was still as important as ever even though her sister needed so much more attention from all of us? Was she getting anything at all out of being a big sister?

Watching them run, watching Alyssa help Olivia climb the slide and seeing her protect Olivia from a ‘vicious’ attach from Orville (please note that which much of Alyssa’s blood has been spilled by Orville over the years, he has never once drawn blood from Olivia, he never, ever pounces at her with his claws out.) I realized that yes, Alyssa is getting so, so much out of this big sister gig. She’s learning patience, sharing, and tolerance. But more importantly than all of that, she’s loved by her little sister and that adoration goes a long way toward healing any lasting wounds that Alyssa might have suffered when her sister was small and needy.

I am one lucky mom to get to watch these girls grow up and see their relationship bloom.