Two to Adore
This photos says it all. Siblings. So similar. So different. I am an only child and most of my understanding of the sibling relationship came from reading East of Eden and watching my childhood best friend’s Russian-Shout-Downs with her sister. As a child, I relished my luck at having avoided annoying-younger and mean-older siblings. All my toys were my own. At most, I was occasionally jealous of the dog getting my parents attention. Only children have a certain sophisticated quality, if I do say so myself, and I could often pick them out of a crowd as they were the only other kids standing apart from the scrum of rough-housing, loud, playful kids at recess. They were sometimes quietly reading or drawing, but the more bold of us would be actually trying to assist the teacher in directing the recess games. There is a blurry photo of me at Montessori preschool: I am standing at the bottom of the yellow slide, black hair against a once-white coat, and I am holding my arms out, ready to help catch the kids sliding down though they were at least as large as me if not bigger. Right after the photo was taken I’ll bet I went to go draw pictures of clouds. Once, my mom came to pick me up and the school had lost me. They searched everywhere and found me under a pile of leaves, next to the gate, asleep.
In some ways, Jack might be like me. Lydia certainly never takes his stuff or fights with him. He doesn’t need to interrupt or negotiate with her. His toys are his own. I expect some jealousy. But if Jack has felt jealous of her, he has never shown it. More often, if she starts crying while Jack and I are playing trains, he tells me to get her and bring her in his room. He likes having her be near. In the morning, when Jack wakes up seeking a cuddle and crawls into our bed, he tells me to “put Lydia in the middle.” His thumb goes in. He nuzzles her head.
He is loud, big in all his emotions, while she is quiet, an observer. If he gets a scratch he howls. She sleeps through blood draws. He has big brown eyes. She has hazel eyes that seem to change color hourly. They both have unexpected caramel-colored hair. They are both delicious. And mine.