"Frenemy" (less commonly spelled "frienemy") is a portmanteau of "friend" and "enemy" that can refer to either an enemy pretending to be a friend or someone who really is a friend but also a rival. - WikipediaMy girls love each other...fiercely. To the point of hugging so hard that it almost immediately turns into a random act of violence rather than the random act of kindness it started out as. Sisters are a unique breed, and having two girls so close in age (just 20 months apart) their rivalry began as soon as I brought Daphne home from the hospital...and Matilda stole the socks right off her feet!
Matilda will never remember life before Daphne, and in most ways I think that is just wonderful. Frankly, it's hard for me to remember days before Daphne, back when Matilda was the sole bearer of my mothering attention. Now, they are a package-deal to me. They are my dynamic duo, my double-trouble, my mimicking monkeys who go tit-for-tat over every nuance of the day. Anything at any moment can spur bickering OR jubilation, each event triggering both competition and companionship.
Sometimes it's hard for me to tell which way these little frenemies will sway. As they play together (Barbies, puzzles, coloring, blocks, trains, dress up...the list goes on and on) there will be sweet moments that take my breath away followed almost immediately by bursts of outrage that escalate out of control and lead to tears and time-outs. I'm raising some spirited girls here, no doubt.
But, I take heart. I have hope because I chat with my own sister on a regular basis and look up to her and love her dearly. We're only friends now, not enemies to any degree - but, this wasn't always so.
While my sis and I are nearly 5 years apart in age, growing up on a farm in the middle of the country kept us indoors and in each others way the majority of my childhood. For the most part, I wanted to be her - she was older (and therefore got to do more "fun" things that little ole me), better at everything (again, older), super pretty, and very popular. In "sister world", this translated into totally justifiable reasons to seek constant revenge on her. To sum up: I was out to get her most of my childhood.
I was pretty awful to my sister. We laugh heartily about it now, but make no mistake that my shenanigans brought my parents plenty of grief over the years.
I remember one family vacation when we were road tripping as a family and stopped at a gas station for snacks. I decided upon a giant blue slushie as a treat (one of those big gulps you fill up at the machine) and as we were walking back to the car, my sister was in front of me, opening the door to the mini-van. Her back was turned to me, and without a second thought, I launched my slushie at her back! FOR NO GOOD REASON! It exploded into a glorious, gloppy mess, and I burst out laughing at the sight of it. (You have to admit, you kinda wish you were there to have witnessed it.)
There are many stories like this...unfortunately. And, while they make for wildly entertaining anecdotes to pass on, they don't exactly paint the picture of sweet girls in matching outfits that every mother dreams of when she's raising daughters.
Yet, this competition served my sister and I well in the long run. (Years of maturity works wonders). Her creative and ambitious spirit encouraged me to strive harder, achieve more, and believe in myself. Over the years, as we each developed our own independent strengths, I was able to more easily appreciate our gifts and aspirations. To this day, we learn more from each other and support our ongoing ventures, whether their silly (Should I cut my hair?) or serious (Should I go back to school?) I pray my daughters grow into their friendship the same way.
My girls have a gift in one another, and it's a crazy-awesome-scary sight to behold. While I hope that I won't be cleaning up slushie-attacks any time soon, I certainly wouldn't put it past my girls. I know their relationship will ebb and flow in the years to come, but like my own relationship with my sister, I want them to know that no matter what - they've got each others backs - even if it's a little stained from slushie now and then.