There used to be a photo here, but it has been removed as part of my blog "de-kidding" initiative. For the purposes of this post, you need to know that The Girl had labeled it siblings when she sent it to me. That made me chuckle.
When the kids were little, I had my doubts abouut whether or not they'd ever get to a good relationship. The Boy's nose was truly out of joint when The Girl arrived; I don't know if it was his innate sense of entitlement or the fact that we spoiled him rotten, but he really wasn't happy to suddenly have to share. I am seriously not making this up: he told me one day that if I put The Girl on the curb, the garbagemen would take her away.
I'm laughing now, but I was worried then if he'd ever get over it. Fortunately, The Girl is and always has been completely secure in her abilities, and she took absolutely none of his cr*p. Her self-assertiveness started early. This memory stands out: One day after playing in The Boy's room, he ended up in the hallway, lying on his back and resting. The Girl crawled out of the room after him, and for absolutely no reason whacked him smack in the face as she crawled by. He was shocked, but didn't retaliate. Somehow he seemed to get the message that even as a baby, she meant business.
For her part, The Girl always thought The Boy lacked common sense, which is probably true. He's the consummate absent-minded professor, who can work himself up over stuff that anyone with a little logic would solve in a heartbeat. He's gotten better with time, fortunately.
As time went on and their personalities took clearer shape, they began to respect each other for their unique capabilities. I would have expected that The Boy would have been jealous of The Girl's physical capabilities, but on the contrary, he took pride in her success in taekwondo and the other sports she played. By the time The Boy was in high school, The Girl had figured out that he is wicked smart and has a true talent for teaching; he became her homework go-to person, and he never turned her away.
I know that many families struggle with sibling rivalry and disputes. I wish I had a magic bullet to share, but all I can say is that we didn't overreact to The Boy's displays, nor did we admonish The Girl when she defended herself. We just praised them when we saw them getting along, and kept reminding them that although they might not like each other at the moment, if they'd keep an open mind they might find things about each other to like. It kind of forced them to figure out their relationship on their own, and it's surprising how quickly they did that.
They're good kids. I'm glad they have each other.