The Same, But Different

People often tell me how much my girls look like each other.  Or have the same mannerisms, or even personality.  When Little One went from contacts to glasses, at school the next day she heard from everyone how much she looked like her big sister.  People who know Little One first will tell Oldest One how much she looks like her little sister when they meet her.  I know the girls don’t mind when people say that, so I always smile, and say they do resemble each other/have the same smile/wave the same way.  And they do.  But, they don’t.

It’s obvious they are related, but as their Mom I see the differences.  I really don’t think they look alike, even though they do.  I see them with totally different personalities, even though they have a lot of the same quirks.  I’m sure it is because I’m their Mom that I see all the differences, and that I want to celebrate their differences, even as I think it is great people see them as so similar.

As the Mom, I’ve learned that it’s important I do see their differences.  The other day Little One had her friend over, and they were watching TV in the family room with me.  They were watching Sponge Bob, and the commercials were all toys for younger kids, so I make a joke about the age of the viewer being targeted and her age.  Oldest One would have come back with some smart remark, and on we would go trying to up each other with remarks, and laughing.  Little One got mad right away, turned off the TV, and took her friend upstairs.

I’ve always tried to be very fair with the girls, and make sure I meet their needs in the best way for them, and not their sister.  But no matter how hard I try, it doesn’t always work.  And, as I saw the other day, even how I joke with them needs to be different.  I don’t see that as a bad thing, just something I need to be mindful of.  I want my girls to grow up to be strong woman who believe in themselves and their capabilities.  I don’t want to ever make one feel inferior to the other, or that they have to be each other.

Yesterday I let Little One pick the movie (one of the too many Hallmark Holiday movies we’ve got on the DVR) and we had a great time watching the movie, getting mad at the mean character, and cheering for the main character.  We even made plans to do hot chocolate one night this week.  Oldest One would not have liked the movie, been bored, and started on her phone.  She would have been completely on board for the hot chocolate.  Different kids, different likes.

I’m glad the girls don’t mind other people seeing how alike they look and act.  I’m glad they are close enough that they even point it out to others.  I just need to remember, and embrace, their differences, so that they feel understood and loved for what makes them special as individuals.

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My Sister

Last night I spent an hour on the phone with my Sister.  It was great to talk to her, and we were both able to vent about stuff that is bothering us.  We both said we are going to do better and talk more, because we feel better getting it all out.

I didn’t grow up with my Sister.  In fact, I didn’t even know she existed until I was 26 and just married, and she was 17.  I didn’t know I had a younger brother (Brother #6 in the scheme of all this) until then either.  I knew I had an older Brother (#4) and a younger sister (#2) and younger brother (#5), none of whom I had met.

I was adopted by my family when I was an infant.  I always knew as my family was open about it, going so far as to create a book they used to read to me about my adoption.  The Brothers, as I called them as a child, were not adopted, but by the time my parents felt they needed one more child, a girl, they weren’t going to conceive one.  So they went to an agency and started the process to adopt a five or six year old girl.  They received a call around nine months later that an infant was available, were they interested?  They were, they drove to the agency where they were placed in a room where they could spend time to decide if they wanted to take me home.  When the caseworker came back I was dressed in the outfit my Mom had brought and they took me home that day.  A year later, and with no caseworker visits that I’ve heard about, my whole family went before a judge, said they wanted to keep me, and it was a done deal.  Some pet adoptions are more complicated today than my adoption was back then.

So I grew up knowing I was adopted, which really didn’t impact me.  It was something unique to share, there was a relative who refused to acknowledge me because of the adoption, the Middle Brother didn’t like to say I was because I was his sister and that was that, and I grew up, got married, had kids and got a mortgage.

Due to health issues in my early 20’s I contacted the adoption agency, paid them the fee, and learned who my birth mother was.  We even talked on the phone.  I learned she had a daughter two years younger than me, and a son four years younger than I am.  She seemed relieved to know I had grown up in a good home.  Today we are Face Book friends, and we ocassionaly send pictures to each other.  She did give me the name of my birth father, which I didn’t do anything with until right after I got married.  A co-worker had a one month access to an Internet database and could look people up, so I had her look the name up, and found him.

I didn’t get to meet my birth father before he passed away, but we did talk on the phone a couple of times.  I have however met my Sister and Brothers #4 and #6.  I even added Sister and Brother #6’s mom to my family.  It’s been nine years since my Sister and I officially met in person, when she came for Little One’s 5th birthday party.  And she has been part of our life and celebrations since.  Sister and I had always wanted a sister, and then we got one.  We went through growing pains even though we were adults as we got to know each other.  My girls love having a Crazy Aunt (even though she isn’t very crazy anymore) and she loves taking them on adventures when she visits.

So, it was great to talk to my Sister, catch up, and be there for each other.  My girls are close, and I hope they always are.  They are the first to defend the other, the first to make the other incredibly mad, and the first to be supportive and proud of the other.  Having and being a sister is special, and I’m so glad I get to experience it.