“My wish isnt to mean everything to everyone, but to mean something to someone.” – Unknown
Almost two years ago, my husband and I sat my then 7 year old son down and we told him about his half sister. It was a tense time for me, one filled with many emotions. Fear of how my son would handle it, what it would provoke in him, anxiety of how my husband would support the explanation, worry that I would cry so hard that I could not get the words out.
It went rather well, considering. My oldest has openly talked about his sister, asked questions when he has them, comments on pictures of her I show him. She, and the situation, have become somewhat common place. Its part of our family. Good, bad or otherwise, it just is.
I am quite proud of myself and how I handled it and even more proud of my eldest son for his maturity, his self-expression, his desire to know his sister and still try to understand why he cannot. I wanted to foster an environment of openess and honesty. I wanted to guarantee my daughter was never a dirty secret or something anyone should be ashamed of. I think I accomplished that. Sure, there are some people in my life that dont approve, that do think of me differently since they learned of her, but honestly, I believe their narrow mindedness shows more about them than it does about me. I just avoid those turds.
My youngest child was two at the time we told my eldest. There was little point in involving him in the conversation. I am not sure he even spoke much at that time. It was my assumption at that time that by telling his brother, by making it a common topic in our home, my youngest would inquire when he was old enough. Alternatively, he might just discuss with his brother and then discuss with me. Whatever was to be, I was comfortable with it.
And so it has begun.
Today, while home with the kids for a school holiday, I hear my boys bickering. I could not quite hear the conversation. I was in our home office downstairs. I finally hear, quite clearly, my oldest (soon to be nine) say to his brother (now 4) “Go ahead, ask her”.
“Maaaaaaaah,” yells my four year old.
“What” I yell as I walk up the stairs.
“Do I have a sister?”, he asks me. Big saucery brown eyes anxiously waiting.
My oldest is behind him with a smug look on his face.
“Yes” I said. “You do”.
“Oh”, he says and he grins at his older brother.
Slightly shaken I approach my oldest and ask “What prompted that?”
My oldest tells me that there was a commercial on TV for Soda Pop Girls (“girl stuff, mom”). My youngest turned to his brother and said:
“I wish I had a sister”.
My oldest tells him that he does and proceeds to tell him about my daughter. The four year old doesn’t believe him and hence the debate I heard began.
I mumble some acknoweldgement and then I tell him that I am very proud of him and glad he felt comfortable to share. He shrugs his shoulders like he has no idea what the big deal is and frankly would rather I go away and stop blocking the television.
So I did.
I retreated to our kitchen to prepare lunch for my sons. As I took the tortillas from the back, the tears began to fall and my chest ached.
Your wish just came true, my dear youngest son.
You do have a sister.