Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Siblings, Best Friends

There are a few times in my life, that I must admit, I have “winged” it. The biggest part of my life, came with very little experience, my daughters. As an ACOD (adult child of divorce), my memories, thoughts, and ideas of parenting and child relationships come from a different perspective than others from the “traditional” families.

I grew up without my Dad present most of my childhood. The relationship between my sister and I changed as we grew older, and we grew apart. Friends that I knew, that had both parents, or had siblings, did not share these same experiences as I did. But I knew one thing for sure, while I could not have those experiences myself, I wanted my daughters to have those experiences, those relationships.

Unfortunately, their mother and I would divorce. But unlike my father, I stayed involved with my daughters as much as I could. I wanted to be their role model for morals, education, relationships. I wanted to be someone that they knew they could count on to come to, when they had something that needed to be dealt with. Most importantly, I want (and that is present tense on purpose) them to know, I will always support and encourage them as they steamroll into adulthood. I am hoping that they will have a better footing on life than I did when I started.

But if life plays out the way that it should, my daughters will have much more time with each other, than they got to have with me. And that is why I believed in building the bond between them, as early as possible.

From this moment, my second adoption in two years, a sibling relationship was created. They would play with each other, laugh with each other, perhaps scheme with each other, most importantly, love each other.

For sixteen years, it has been this way. And I feel good about their future together as siblings. They will be separated for the first time in their lives soon enough, with one heading off to college, and the other soon after. They will start their own lives with what they have learned in schools, and with what they were taught by me. Reunions with each other will require a little more thought to coordinate everyone’s availabilities. And with technology, we are all just a Factime or Zoom away from each other.

The other afternoon, I stepped inside the convenience store to pay for my gas. As I was waiting, I noticed a pair of children, clearly brother and sister. They were helping each other select a package of candy their parents allowed them to get. But their parents were outside pumping gas. They were completing this task on their own. After selecting their choice, they approached the counter clerk, and the older brother proceeded to pull some money out of his pocket, while his younger sister looked up at her brother proudly, as he paid for their snacks. No bickering. No tantrums. Just cooperation.

Was it like this all of the time for them? It could be. I know when it came to my daughters, I had never witnessed any knockdown dragout arguments between them. Quite the contrary. As they have grown, and developed their own interests and strengths, they have learned to count on each other for assistance whether one assists the other with an art project, or a math assignment.

Seeing the young siblings reminded me just how far I had come from with my daughters, and as I recall the last sixteen years of their sibling relationship, I am pretty sure I got it right.

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