As mentioned, Alyssa went to most of the seminars/break out groups that my mom and I attended at the 5p- Society Conference.
I figured at twelve years old, she was able to sit quietly and listen to what was going on if she wanted to do so. She wasn’t interested in going to the sibling outings or to child care. She actually laughed when I suggested child care. As if!!
I want Alyssa to understand how far her sister has come and also understand the things Olivia faces every single day. Of course, I also want her to just see her little sister as that, a little sister, the one person in the world who know exactly how to push her buttons and irritate her more than anyone else in the world and yet somehow also be someone in this sometimes cruel world who will always love her unconditionally.
One afternoon when we got back from one such breakout group, Alyssa was quiet for a bit. My mom and I thought nothing of it as we all got ready to go to the pool.
Finally, Alyssa figured out what she wanted to say. “Olivia isn’t really aggressive, is she?”
Obviously, Alyssa had been processing the fact that several parents had voiced concerned about how aggressive their kids tend to be, with both the parents and with sibings.
“Not really,” I said, just as Olivia pressed her lips to my upper arm. She’s been doing that lately, kissing until I have to tell her, “Okay, be done.”
Alyssa laughed at her sister’s antics.
I rolled my eyes and said, “Well, sometimes she’s aggressively affectionate, though.”
And this is true. Olivia loves to give affection. But only to those she’s very close to, as in, she’s aggressively affection with me, Tom and Alyssa. Sometimes, she’ll be aggressively affection to my mom but it’s usually aimed at those of us with whom she lives.
Later still, Alyssa admitted that listening to those parents talk about how physical their kiddos could be, she realized how lucky we are that Olivia doesn’t hit or pinch or pull our hair.
If you’ve got to put up with aggression, Alyssa decided, it really is better to have that aggression manifest itself as affection, because even if the affection is annoying, at least it doesn’t hurt.
My sweet Alyssa…she’s getting it. She’s seeing all that her sister is, all that she can be, all that she means to all of us and she’s realizing that even with all the irritants that come with having a little sister, we’re pretty darned lucky to have O in our lives.
For the record, as much as Alyssa might roll her eyes and complain about Olivia’s annoying habits, when Olivia felt outside the hotel last week as we were walking to our car, Alyssa was the first one to scoop her little sister up and carry her, skinned knee and all, the rest of the way to the car. How’s that for a protective big sister? Pretty awesome, if you ask me.