Sibling Synergy: Every Mother’s Dream

They played together.  They ate chicken nuggets together.  Maybe they jumped on their parents’ bed when the babysitter came, practicing for Olympic gymnastics while listening to Kenny G.  They plotted things and covered other things up, and they had nicknames for each other that were theirs and theirs alone.

They look somewhat alike, but beyond that they’re simply bonded by the shared experience of growing up with that particular pair of parents (or family circumstance).  They “get it” in a way that others don’t, good and bad.  Sure they used to squabble over which Power Ranger each got to be in their backyard games.  They might have even bit a chunk of flesh from time to time out of a stray arm or stolen a CD or trashed the other’s favorite shirt.

But mostly, they bonded, they’re connected, and they’re relatively glad to be brothers and sisters.

That’s every parent’s dream… that their children will like each other, bond, be close, even share some of life’s experiences together. It’s even the reason that some people have a second child (or a third) … so that their children will have the joy of siblings, companionship in the family, someone to fight with in the back seat of the car so the parents can talk in the front.

So I’m reflecting today on the good news/bad news of the Dougherty siblings, on the lam, wielding guns, robbing banks and thought to be hiding outside Colorado Springs at this moment.  Have you heard the story?

On one hand the parents can be glad that they’re bonded, that they want to spend time together, that they have common goals.  On the other hand, well… the other hand seems obvious.

So I’m wondering how it works when any three siblings are on the run together.  Do their roles in the family hold true?  Is one the clown?  Does one dominate?  What are the birth-order dynamics at play?

Do they say things like, “I know you are but what am I?” and “It takes one to know one?”  Do they scream out at rest stops, “I call riding shotgun.  Mom always lets me do it on Tuesdays?”  Do they fight over who got the biggest piece of the last cinnamon bun from Holiday Inn Express?   Do they bicker over which radio station or playlist to listen to?

In the quiet moments between gunfire, do they talk about that weird way that their dad used to sit and stare into space on the front porch?  Or do they wish for some of their mother’s lemon chicken?  Or do they wonder if they should risk getting caught by calling Grandma on her birthday next week?

“Kids will be kids,” they say, and although these three are solid grown-ups, I can’t help but picturing them as scared kids who started a game (maybe an extension of something they used to play in the basement) and who now are out there wondering where this all ends (and perhaps where it all started).




~ by Cary on August 10, 2011.

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