Thursday, April 19, 2012


This morning Sol sat on the kitchen bench mixing shredded coconut, flour, oats and sugar in a bowl as I melted butter to add to the batch of Anzac biscuits we were making. It was a first for Sol and I, baking without River who was at school. For me it felt like we were doing something special together without River and I felt something akin to guilt like I didn't want to be doing anything with Sol that River would be disappointed about missing out on, and at the same time pleasure that Sol and I were having time together as River and I shared when River was Sol's age. The experience made me reflective about the complexity and simplicity of the bond between siblings.

In the car on the way home from school after dropping River off, Sol asked "Mummy, where's River?"

"At school" I replied.

"Oh. I miss him," he said.
From the moment Sol was born when River was almost three and a half years old I have marvelled at the shape the bond between them takes. I had such a close bond with my own younger brother I want the same for River and Sol and have been conscious from the start of nurturing the bond they share. Pete and I were mindful when Sol arrived to include River in everything to do with his new baby brother, mindful of the words we chose, words that encouraged River to accept Sol as his baby brother rather than resent him or feel threatened by him. And that continues today.

I sometimes think it helps that I am a first born like River and Peter is a second child and the youngest like Sol, they each have a parent that understands where they fit in the family. I'm mindful as River and Sol grow of giving them appropriate responsibilities and involving them equally in contributing to being part of the family, not to overload River with responsibilities and not to baby Sol just because he is the youngest. Even when he's 40 he will still be the youngest!

I also notice in Sol the way he completely idolises River and look back at my relationship with my 'baby' brother and think 'my brother looked up to me like that too and wow I was mean to him sometimes!'

Of course as close as River and Sol are they have their times when they try and out do each other to get Pete and my attention, and times when they squabble and snatch over belongings but I feel like their foundation for friendship is strong.

River said to me recently, "I hope Sol never loses his chubbiness. It's so cute." I love those moments.

I regularly count my blessings twice for having River and Sol in my life.

Sisters and brothers are not always born of the same parents. I'm thankful for those siblings too; such as my cosmic and courageous sister-in-law who I am truly lucky to like and love, and those friends who between us the love is deep, the laughter raucous and the tears free to fall.

Happy weekending.

1 comment:

  1. Nikki, i'm linking over here after your comment over at my blog. thanks for that as your words resonate with my current thoughts. I am the youngest of 6 (2 moms 2 dads) and my partner the youngest of 3 so we don't have the older sibling experience to relate to with our oldest boy but i'm straight up in saying to him that i appreciate his patience with his younger brother and that i can only imagine how it must be for him since i am a youngest child. i find this really opens up the communication of emotions. i feel so lucky to experience each of my boys independently and when the older boy feels jealous of the younger boy i find it helpful to bring out photos and stories of when he was that age and how similar they really are.
    sorry long comment here...thank you again.


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