But then Belle stepped in, a look of hurt on her face, "I can recite all of the planets, too!". She was upset and defensive, the attention her sister was getting like a slap in her face. She felt left out, overshadowed.
I hugged her close, empathetic towards her feelings as I have felt them myself with my own siblings. "I know that you do" I said to her, squeezing her close. We let her know that we were proud of her, too, but that this conversation had nothing to do with whether or not SHE knew something, it was about something that Brees did. Celebrating a victory for one sister does not mean that we are expressing disappointment in the other sister. One has nothing to do with the other. "I know" she said, looking down at her feet. "I just felt kind of, you know...".
We know. We understand. And it's okay. This is how it goes with siblings. Each member of a family is different: different strengths, different weaknesses, certain qualities that are all their own. Sometimes it feels that one person in particular just has it all together, rising to the occasion at every golden opportunity. Some people are just naturally more charismatic than others, some people have to work really hard while others just seem to flow right through life. Sometimes you get lots of attention, other days make you wonder if anyone even knows you're alive.
"God created each and every one of us in His image", I said to Belle. He made us all special and perfectly unique. He gave each of us something extraordinary, something that makes us exactly who we are supposed to be. But, more importantly, He put certain people in our lives on purpose. This family, it is no accident. We are all here together, living this life, because we were meant to journey as a team, our own little tribe. Whatever you are lacking, your sister is here to lift you up. When she or your brother are in need, you are just the girl to run to their rescue. Sibling rivalry, feelings of jealousy or inadequacy: these are all normal feelings that everyone experiences. Don't let it get you down, though. For there is no greater love than the love of your brother and sister.
When I think back on my childhood: my siblings are the ones who hold my heart so dear. Late night talks after Mama thought we were asleep, long summer night bike rides, adventures in the woods, sneaking out to the high school after party that we weren't supposed to go to: those are the memories that shape so much of my early life. And I want my kids to know that love, to feel that connection, to experience that sense of belonging. There will be times, I am sure, when their relationships are not always so close and sweet. But the love they share right now, the foundation that they are building as they spend hours playing Barbies together, those are the times that will always lead them home. To each other.