Since the girls were about 3 and 4 years old, thy each get a chance to spend time all by themselves with Grandma and PopPop over the summer. I have accepted that ‘what happens at Grandma’s, stays at Grandma’s’ during this time. The grandparents can spoil and love the kids as much as they want and the kids can enjoy it. Once they are home though, it is back to mom and dad’s rules and routines.
This is good for all the kids. Now that Casey is walking and attempting to talk, they are all used to having each other and used to always having someone else to play with. Most times I love that I don’t have to constantly entertain my kids, but I do want them to learn how to be by themselves. The kid at grandma’s house has to play alone and the kids at home have to adjust to one kid being gone. I’m amazed at how the dynamic at home changed from week to week and that the kids did actually miss their siblings. They each found different ways to adjust.
Last year, Lizzie coped with Evelyn being gone by painting her a ‘Welcome Home’ sign. While her brothers were sleeping, I laid out an old sheet on the floor, got out the paints and brushes. I lettered out the words “Welcome Home Evelyn” and let Lizzie take over. She carefully painted each letter and added her own decorations. We hung up the sign in the living room so Evelyn could see it when she got home.
Once home, Evelyn loved her sign and Lizzie was excited that Evelyn loved it. We had a welcome home party. This year before Evelyn came home, we hung the sign up again and the effect was the same. Everyone loved it.
This year, while Lizzie was gone, Evelyn wanted to paint a sign for her sister. During nap time, Evelyn created her sign masterpiece added a picture of her sister as well as other decorations. We let the sign dry, and even though it was still a few days until Lizzie’s return, she constantly reminded us that we needed to put it up. Evelyn is proud of her sign and is excited for her sister to see it.
I love watching this sister relationship grow between my girls. I had a brother and I really can’t relate to what it is like to have a sister or more than one sibling, but I am happy watching this friendship evolve.
I know there will be fights over the years and periods of time they will hate each other and not want to speak. It is in those times, I will remind them of how much they once missed each other, tell them the story of the ‘Welcome Home’ sign and remind them that no matter what they will always be sisters.
A sign hanging in the girl’s room says, “I smile because you are my sister. I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it.”