Recently, we went out to eat at a local Chick-Fil-A restaurant with an outdoor play area. The place was packed with families and kids were bouncing around from place to place celebrating the fact that the weather was finally allowing them some outside play time.
As we finished our meal, our kids raced up the ladder to the top of the tunnel slide and while we waited for them at the bottom, I noticed a young boy hiding around the corner at the bottom of the slide. He was probably at least fourteen years old and my first thought was that he was too old to be there and I mentally prepared myself to tell him to watch out for the younger kids.
Before I got the chance, a little girl close to my daughter's age (around 5) came down the slide with her bright eyes searching for someone. The young man playfully peaked around the side of the slide and she squealed with delight as he reached over and tagged her. Then, he pretended to be just a little slower than her as she raced back up the ladder and he took his place back at the bottom of the slide to wait for her. He glanced at me and smiled and then continued to wait and repeated the game countless times before their parents called them to leave. Each time they'd meet each other at the bottom of that slide, the joy on their faces was evident and familiar.
I have three siblings whom I love dearly and would love to see more often. The games we played when we were growing up are memories that can still make me laugh in the most solemn of times. When we are all together, the stories and jokes we share remind me that the bond of siblings is like none other. No matter how annoying they were to me at times (I am the oldest by at least five years), all of my favorite memories involve them. Often, one word can between us can evoke uncontrollable laughter, leaving those around us unsure whether we are intoxicated or borderline insane.
I watch my own children and marvel at the relationship they have. Sure, there are days when they fight, whine and compete with each other. That's a part of the relationship, too. There are more times that they are laying side by side on the floor reading a book together or running and laughing at something that no one else gets. They make up games and play by their own rules. They will defend each other and rat each other out in the same breath. They can be equally helpful and a hindrance to each other. At the end of the day, they are still best friends.
They were recently having a conversation about when they are older and they get married. I listened as they chatted about what kinds of things they would do as grown ups. Suddenly, I realized that they thought that they would eventually be married to each other. I explained that they would each marry other people that they probably didn't even know yet and have their own separate houses. Both of them were horrified by the thought of not being together as adults. They couldn't fathom that a day would come where time and distance would separate them and their daily lives may not intersect. They still don't believe me when I tell them this.
The relationship that siblings share is so unique. I feel blessed to share that relationship with three amazing people and I am so thankful that Sister and Brother will share this bond for the rest of their lives. I pray every day that their relationship stays as sweet as it is now and that as a parent, I will be faithful to encourage them to remain the best of friends.