I was pretty certain they had become mortal enemies, my soon-to-be-13-year-old and my 8 year old who wants to be 13. They can agree on nothing. If one likes something, the other doesn't. If one likes something that the other does, then one of them will suddently profess not to like it. (Planning meals is especially challenging.) Being an only child, this love/hate relationship has always been a mystery to me; but even moreso these days when there is more "hate" than "love" between these two. My husband warned me about this, speaking from the experience of having a brother. I shrugged it off by saying girls are different, and at least now that he and his brother are grown they can enjoy the occasional golf game or ski trip together. Yet this sibling rivalry is wearing thin. For the first time, when the girls have been apart this summer, they don't seem to miss each other. HannahKate and I were gone for two weeks and she never got to the point where she admitted she missed Hallie. She left again for another week and Hallie never stopped talking because there was no one there to "shut her down". So many people tell me this is normal, but it still breaks my heart. (I guess I could go off on a spritual tangent and relate this to how God must feel when He sees his children squabbling, unable to get along, but that seems pretty obvious and not what I set out to write about today.)
This morning I walked through our house and was caught off guard by two people sitting on the swing in our backyard. My first thought was that one of the girls had a friend over, but upon closer observation I saw that they both belonged to me. I don't know what prompted it, but there they were, sitting side-by-side, talking, laughing and genuinely enjoying each other's company. It caught me so off guard that I stood and watched for a long while. It caught me so off guard that I didn't even think about yelling at them for taking my good couch cushions outside to use as pillows. It caught me so off guard that I had to get my camera to preserve the moment. And while the quality is not the best, it caught me so off guard that I had to post this picture and the wonder of this moment as a reminder that maybe they do still love each other and won't disown each other the moment their father and I are no longer around to referee.
By the time this is posted, they will have already lapsed back into their competitive states and argued about no less than four different topics of absolutely no importance. But at least for me, the calm this morning will help me brace for the impending storm.