Last week, on a drive home from the mall, I turned the radio off, pulled the car over, and turned it off, completely. And I sat there.
Two little girls, who up until that moment had been SHRIEKING at each other over something that I'm sure was completely inconsequential, fell completely silent.
This is our biggest struggle with the girls right now. They're really close and love each other fiercely, but they're also really close and drive each other absolutely insane. They fight and they annoy each other and they wail and then they hug and make up and immediately begin planning their next fight. They slam their doors to keep each other out and then sneak in to see each other once they've been separated. They share accessories and toys and books and then scream that they want them back.
SO much fun.
I know that this is totally normal, especially for kids who are close in age. But there are times, like in the car, when it drives me absolutely batty. My number one car rule is that no one, including me, is allowed to yell. Of all places you can fight, the car is the absolute worst. You can't separate them, and all that screeching is unbelievably distracting. We don't fight in the car. If you yell, it better be because you are horrifically injured or we're about to hit a brick wall.
But they can't help it. Someone puts a toy down, someone else picks it up, and the screams just bubble up and out of them.
I have visions of the teenage years, when I have a thirteen and fourteen year old, howling at each other and slamming doors over shoes and earrings and shower time and I can only imagine what else.
Siblings are hard. Sisters are hard. And I want them to be close, like my sister and I are now, and I don't want them to have to get to their 20s before that happens.
But sometimes what brings siblings together is a need to team up. A common enemy. And honestly, sometimes, I'm happy to let that be me. When I pull them apart and separate them into their rooms, I love to hear the sound of little feet sneaking back together, to hug each other and "stealthily" play. When I "overreact" to a mess, I love hearing them comfort each other as they clean up.
And when I pull over, they know I mean business. They immediately fall silent, try to plead their cases, but realize that I don't do car yelling, so their cases fall on unsympathetic ears. I tell them no one is allowed to talk for the remainder of the ride.
And I listen, smiling, to the whispered settlement and the sneaky hand-holding.
They fight hard, but they love hard too. They might not always get alone, but they're a team.