Some adults always remain children and some children grow up into adult hood even before they have been properly potty trained . I think the speed at which we grow mentally has a lot to do with one, our basic nature and two, the environment around us. A very important factor in the environment is the presence or absence of siblings. I learnt this through two independent events, few days back.
Yog recently changed schools and I wrote about how traumatic the first day experience was for him and me. What I did not write about then, was another story that unfolded the same day as Yog and me tried to fit ourselves into his new world. In the school waiting room, Yog sat in my lap, hugging me close, scared to let me out of his sight. A few feet away from us, another 3 year old frail girl clung to her 5 year old sister, crying incessantly. She had the same reason to cry as Yog. She did not want to leave the safety of her sisters arms and step into her classroom. The elder sister, a student of the same school, hugged the younger one close and assured her that everything was going to be OK. I could hear her explaining coolly and logically that this was a good school and the teacher would be very nice. The younger one refused to be convinced and continued to cry . I could feel the elder ones emotions as she hugged her sister; kissed her on the forehead and wiped the tears off her sticky cheeks. My heart went out to the elder sister who was barely an year older than Yog. While Yog sat comfortably in my lap, this little girl was shouldering the responsibility of being a mother and guardian to her little sister. While I myself was finding it hard to deal with the pain of leaving my crying son, she was smiling bravely at her brawling little sister. I felt proud and sad for her at the same time.
Yog has an array of friends who live in the same street as us. Two of them, Siddu and Ganesh are his best friends. Their mother serves as the watch woman to the building opposite to us. One day, I spotted Siddu crying on the road with Ganesh trying to console his little brother. I asked Ganesh what had happened. Ganesh quickly exclaimed with an air of being in control, “Siddu wants to eat Kinder Joy but Mother doesn’t have money to buy it. I told Siddu, when our Mother gets a job, she will buy two Kinder Joys for Siddu. When she gets a promotion in her job, she will buy a big toy train for Siddu.” The conviction in Ganesh’s voice gave Siddu the confidence that it was only a matter of time before he gets his Kinder Joy and toy train. Wiping his tears with the back of his arm, Siddu quickly caught his brothers hand, and ran along to find some sticks to play with. Once again, I felt the pride and sadness rising in my heart.
When I think of these incidents, and witness the sibling dynamics in my own home each day, I wonder if the younger siblings realize the level of emotional and physical support provided to them by their elder brother/sister. As parents too, we often take for granted the responsibility that the elder one shoulders. Just because they were born a few years earlier, we feel they should be more responsible.
I know, like many parents out there, I have forced my daughter to grow up much faster than she needed to. I write this blog today, to acknowledge all the sacrifices she has made for her little brother. I am never scared for the future of my son, because I know my daughter will always be there for him. I guess that is a privilege as well as a curse for all elder siblings in this world. May God bless you with much more love, patience and strength, cause He knows that you need it for sure!