He Still Loves Her Just a Little

alexanna7After having two boys two years apart, it took us a while to decide to have another baby (as I explained in another post, we had to discuss if he/she would be better than a new kitchen floor). Of course, after we made the decision, our baby girl was well worth the wait and I got my new floor anyway :).

When we first brought Anna home, her brothers liked holding her once in a while but weren’t all that interested in something that only slept, cried, and pooped. They had each other to play with and were totally content outside hitting whiffle balls or climbing trees all day. But as months went by, Alex, the funny 5-year-old who had been the youngest until now, realized he could make his sister giggle and made it his mission on a daily basis. By the time she was a year old, she cackled just about every time he was in the room, which was really helpful for keeping her occupied when I needed to get stuff done. Eventually, he would take her outside and loved to show her bugs in the yard, push her on the swing, and splash around with her in her baby pool. Of course Isaac loved her too, but Alex was always the one holding her hand or giving her a bite of his sno-cone. It was the sweetest thing ever and life was so good. In fact, sometimes I would crawl into bed at night and realize I hadn’t even needed a glass of wine that day.

But not long after that, Anna found her words.

alexanna5.jpgI don’t remember the exact day it happened, but once it did, she was sassing and talking back to everyone and everything (even her beloved Goldendoodle, Ruby). In fact, I specifically remember Alex telling me, “Mommy, I liked Anna a lot more before she could talk.” But instead of letting her new voice get him down, he found ways to be entertained by it. He pushed her buttons until he could almost see steam coming out of her ears, and then when she exploded he’d let out the biggest belly laugh and run off to his room so she couldn’t punch him, and so I would have to deal with her. It was exhausting, and before I knew it I was back to a glass of wine or two (okay, or three) every night just to stay sane.

Anna caught on quickly to how the game worked, and those days went on for years. When she was bored, she’d ask Alex to play with her and if he didn’t want to, she’d turn off the TV show he was watching in the living room, and he’d start chasing her. It would begin with both of them laughing, and then laughing turning to almost crying…and then usually ended in her crying before she slammed the door to her bedroom. With constant deep sighs, I began to question whether I should have had another sibling closer to her age — someone who actually enjoyed her company and wanted to do the same things she did, because these two bickering nonstop for the rest of their life was not what siblings were supposed to do –right?

alexanna4But then a couple years ago around the time Alex turned 12, he hardly came out of his room. When he wasn’t on a baseball diamond or playing basketball, he sat in front of his Playstation and shooed Anna away any time she asked him to play, pointing to his headset to indicate he was talking to friends. I’m not sure if it was her getting older too or if she had just given up on trying, but she started walking out of his room just as fast as she went in. Before I knew it, the two of them didn’t have a whole lot of interaction at all. Then just as Isaac started doing a few years ago, Alex began leaving on weekends to hang out with friends, and Anna often ended up in her own room reading books. After all those years of craziness, I have to admit it was pretty peaceful.

But sometimes, too peaceful.

Sure, life was getting easier, but I couldn’t help but worry that my kids were pulling apart. I wondered if my boys who used to climb trees together would continue to just talk in passing about MLB trades, or if they’ll end up bellied up to a bar one day hashing out the details of their lives. Since they’ve always had an on-again, off-again relationship as they’ve grown, I could see them staying close, but this thing with Anna was a different deal since she’s always been so much younger. What if she ends up being the left out sibling and never reconnects?

img_9707-e1551815319358.jpgBut then low and behold, I was standing in the kitchen this weekend and I heard some commotion upstairs. Alex must’ve been in a mood and decided to go into Anna’s room….maybe to play, but most likely (and for old times’ sake), to bug her. She was yelling at him to get out, and he kept running back in giggling. She acted like she was soooo bothered by it, but the look on her face said she loved it. This went on all weekend long and at times it gave me a headache, but I have to admit that deep down I was happy they were interacting again. It made me realize that while she may not have a sister to braid her hair or play Barbies with, she has exactly what she needs in the brothers she does have. Isaac is the practical one who will be able to talk to her and give advice, and Alex will be the goofy one who pushes her buttons but will always make her laugh. Yes, he still loves her just as much as he always did, and this is actually just the way our life was meant to be.

Even if it means for now, mom’s going to need to restock the Riesling.

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