As my two younger girls get older, I’ve become somewhat fascinated by their interactions. For those of you that know them, you understand that they are quite different in many ways. Eleanor is older than Abbie by 20 months. Eleanor is calm, patient, thoughtful, very bright, competitive, and hard working. Abbie is passionate, spirited, athletic, and nurturing. They share a room, hence spend a good amount of time together.
In the summer, they spend about 8 weeks on our local swim team. They attend the same practice each day. The mornings are essentially a metaphor for their relationship. They both wake up around the same time, 7:30ish. Often, Eleanor will spend some time reading in bed, while Abbie begins some dramatic play with her Barbies. Next, they wander downstairs where they watch a TV show. Lately, it’s been Bunk’d, which I refer to in a high pitched “Kikiwaka!” As the show nears an end, I remind them of their impending practice, and tell them they need to eat something before practice. I say for the 30th time this summer that they should have eaten before they watched TV, but that typically falls on deaf ears.
Immediately upon being prompted, Eleanor pops up and begins getting food and then changing to ready herself for practice. Meanwhile, Abbie whines on the couch that her stomach hurts, she’s too tired, and she’s not going to practice. When there is about 10 minutes until practice begins (and they have a 5-10 minute bike ride to practice), Eleanor will declare that she is leaving without Abbie, as she doesn’t want to be late…again. At this point, Abbie will run up, say she is going, throw on her suit, and announce she lost her goggles…again. Eleanor will stand on her bike telling Abbie to hurry. Abbie practically falls out of the house, can’t find her helmet, and then sulkily rides off (late) with her sister.
Upon arriving home, the moods have changed. Abbie is bouncing around and chipper. Eleanor is slightly annoyed that she was late, her sister beat her, and that she had to fix Abbie’s bike chain on the ride home. But, all in all, they are happy. After all of this, they usually find something to do together.
What resonates with me is the way they support and balance each other. Eleanor’s drive and dedication helps Abbie get to practice each day, which helps Abbie develop her talent, and keep her excited. At the same time, Abbie helps push Eleanor to be better, and to experience something that doesn’t come easy to her, as Eleanor excels at school with ease.
I hope this relationship will serve them well in the future. And, I hope that each one learns something from the other that they can take with them.
In the meantime, the iconic song from White Christmas keeps playing through my head: “Sisters, Sisters, There were never such devoted sisters…”