lessons in mothering.

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washpark1we’re at this really interesting chapter of life right now where eleanor and samson, while they are the very best of friends often throughout each day, really know how to bug each other.  they’ve learned which buttons to push that really bring out an animated reaction from the other. (conrad still just stands by observing, often laughing at all the wrong moments too, which i think sometimes encourages it. oh, birth order!)

there are parts of the day when i feel like all i’m doing is breaking up some sort of argument about a certain toy and asking them to apologize to one another. i keep reminding myself it comes with the territory of being 16 months apart. i mean, i know how to get at my little sister hannah (we’re 18 months apart) better than anyone else, probably.  but she’s also one of my very best friends, and while growing up so close in age was a little bit testy there for a while (especially since we are both girls and both pursued dance, i feel), i’m so incredibly thankful for the experience, and for the things it has taught me, and continues to teach me as we get older.

so the other week, while we were at the playground after dinner working to get out our wiggles, i won’t ever forget looking up and witnessing this simple gesture of sibling love (thank you so much josh for grabbing the camera). while eleanor was capable of crawling across this monkey bar rope type contraption (what is that even called?! aren’t i supposed to know these things as a mother?!) by herself as she’s done it many times before, samson saw it as his duty to stand directly below her with his arms stretched up and out during her entire climb across. he walked underneath her shouting confidently every couple of seconds, “i got you, eleanor! i got you.”  (i died.) then, as eleanor made her last stretch of rope and was beginning her climb down, she said beaming, “thank you, samson.” (i was already dead but i died again because hello this makes the chaos and fighting and hard moments between them worth it and proves THEY LOVE EACH OTHER!!!!) and there are plenty of other great little moments like this one, but this was extra special.

i am so thankful they have one another in this life. i know there will be times they will be so annoyed they’ll probably slam doors or hit or say cruel things to each other, but i hope they always have each other’s backs. and as a mother, while conrad is still just ten months and not quite up to speed to hang and play with them as they’d like just yet, i hope their sibling bond is passed down to him as well, and remains strong and powerful there, too.  life is hard and people can be mean and sometimes it feels the entire world sucks, but family is strong and loved ones can be supportive and this world is actually a magnificent place to grow and learn and love.

i’m thankful for the little lessons these kids throw my way all freaking day long. it’s an honor to be their mama.

  1. Melanie

    Awwww how amazing is that!! As an only child I never had this companionship and it’s just a beautiful thing!!! The fact that Samson’s natural instinct is to watch out for his big sisters is wonderful! =)

  2. Alyssa

    “I got you, Eleanor!” What a sweetheart!!

  3. Erin

    Oh girl I GET THAT. The good news is that it does get better in a few years!! One day you’ll just be like “why is my house so calm?” and you will realize it’s because your littles finally got passed this stage!

  4. How cuteeee! Even if i fight with my brother, i would always be there for him. Is a great reminder this post!

  5. M

    My older brother and I are 16 months apart… My Mom tells me we used to say we were going to marry each other when we we little, haha! Well, after traveling across the world together (Peru, the UK, Greece…) he’s still one of my best friends and was actually koumbaros (best man) at our wedding this summer! So yea, those bonds between close siblings are special. They really do last.

  6. Rosie

    Amen! That couldn’t be more true. Thank you for describing the whole experience so beautifully.

  7. Luna

    Having a brother or sister to be beautiful. From an only child I can only imagine it but one day I’d like to have another child just to live what you’re living with them. You’re a good mother, you teach the right values and will, happen that quarrel but they already know that they can always count on each other and this is beautiful. :)

  8. Tanis

    I don’t usually comment but today, I had to! My two, Elle who is 6 and her brother Noah who is only 19 months younger, always seem to be at each other. Sometimes I feel very discouraged….thanks so much for reminding me to focus on those great moments, moments when they really show their love and respect for one another (that I know is always there but isn’t always visible!) THANK YOU! I needed to hear this today.

  9. Carrie

    That is so, so, so sweet! A memory to last a lifetime.

  10. Megan

    I am cracking up! This is the sweetest and cutest little story ever! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Have a wonderful weekend // http://www.lifeloveandbe.com/

  11. Carly

    Everything you said and observed is on point! My daughters are 16 months apart too, and are 8 and 9 now. Their dynamic is very similar. Nothing brings out the worst in them quite like each other, and nothing brings out the best, either! Being the constant referee is hard, but essential, as you’re modeling good communication skills and active listening for them. I agree, these little moments of compassion, joy, and gratitude make everything else slip away. We are lucky to have our children teach us so much, sometimes more than we teach them, I find. <3

  12. Steffi

    You discribed it exactly the way it is, when you have a brother or sister. It reminded me of when I was younger and my little brother too. Also the thing, when we were teens. So, but nowadays we are friends and be there for each other, if something is coming up. Don’t worry, they will do their way together, I’m sure with that.

  13. Lauren

    Adorable. So happy you can live in the moment and appreciate the precious ones (albeit brief at times) when they happen! :)

  14. Leanne

    So special to have moments like this captured on camera. I remember in your camping blog (I think) that they were so sweet to each other too.

    I *really* needed to hear that line, “life is hard and people can be mean and sometimes it feels the entire world sucks, but family is strong and loved ones can be supportive and this world is actually a magnificent place to grow and learn and love,” today, so thank you for that. Gonna hold those words close. Have an awesome weekend you guys!


  15. Flora

    This post made me smile so broadly! What lovely, LOVELY children you are raising :)! It’s so wonderful that for all the inevitable squabbling and button-pushing that they’re genuinely good friends – I’m lucky that I was super close to my younger brother (only 18 months age-gap, to the day) when we were growing up, and this post has reminded me of all the fun stuff we used to do!

    My boyfriend, Lee, is SO close to his big brother, even now well into their twenties. They facetime at least every day (more often 3 times a day!), text to update each other on the smallest details and thoughts, and wouldn’t contemplate making a big life decision without running it by the other for a reliable opinion. it’s a pleasure to have made a true friend in my boyfriend’s brother, and I suspect Samson and Eleanor’s one-day partners will feel the same way…you end up acquiring extra family!


  16. Paige

    This was so sweet! My brother and I were thirteen months apart growing up and we definitely had that love/hate sibling relationship, but we always had each others backs when we needed to! My little ones are two years apart and it’s so sweet to see my three-year-old love and engage with my one-year-old. Even though he gets mad a lot when she takes his toys or something, he’s always there to get something for her when she needs help, or to encourage her when she learns something new, and it’s so sweet!


  17. Casady

    My little brother and I are 11 months apart, I’m 16 and he is 15. We have our moments as well, we get along GREAT, but sometimes we can have a fight. We know how to push eachothers buttons and get on eachother nerves. Usually when we argue not even 5 minutes later we are laughing together, I sometimes just randomly remember how much we love eachother even though we fight. I just wanted to let you know it still goes on, but sometimes you randomly can see how much E & S do love eachother no matter how much they fight. If anything it brings my brother and I closer because no matter what happens we always have eachothers backs and love eachother dearly. :)

  18. felisha

    Ah, this is the exact reason why I want to have kids that are close in age. That story just warmed my heart.


  19. Kristin

    I am right there with you Mama…..sometimes I feel at my wits end and so discouraged, but after reading this you made my day. This was just too precious, and so lose to home…..thank you!!! Love of your family is everything….HAPPY HALLOWEEN ???

  20. Erin

    Beautiful, I’m going to go give my sister a call :)

  21. Mery

    How cute! You are allright. Family is the best!

  22. Kelly

    I know I’m an emotional FTM to a little guy (just turned 3 months, & this blog was my go to for baby readiness!) but I was totally in tears reading this. People can be so mean, that’s why we fall in love and make a family to get through it! Can’t wait to make a huge family of best friends. Cheers to you lovely lady :)

  23. Heather

    You make me want a third! I am so interested to watch the sibling dynamic blossom and grow with Conrad as well. I have two little daughters 17 months apart and they are mostly best of friends nowadays, at 21 months and 3 years old. They have their rough moments for sure, but I am often in a state of awe and supremely pleasant surprise to see them playing together, acting out little pretend scenarios with dolls or toys, hiding in their tent, sharing snacks, reading books next to each other and snuggling at night. I sometimes even worry that introducing a third child would change it somehow, or stretch my husband and I too thin. I love to get little glimpses into your sweet sweet life with three. It’s a number of children I am so curious about as far as dynamics; I am older or I would just go for four to even it out (I bet maybe you will?)! Haha, only sorta kidding. Anyway, thank you for this beautiful post. I’ve said it before and I know the blogging world is complicated but I do think you are a ray of light in this world!

  24. Awwww! What a cute story and you got the just the right picture to capture it! Sibling love is the absolute best!


  25. I love this post. My brother is a little less than 2 years younger than me. As adults, we have our differences. Yet, he is my best friend in the entire world. I have his back and I know he has mine. I am grateful everyday for his existence. I’m looking forward to his trip home next weekend.

    Happy Saturday everyone :)

  26. JennyWilliams

    I’m the oldest of 5 siblings and we’re all two years apart. I fought with my closest brother when we were younger but when we got a little bit older he became my very best friend. Even now we’re in our twenties and he’s my best friend around. You’re raising great kids who will always be there for each other.

  27. Whitney

    Love you guys!

  28. Lila

    Thank you for sharing this moment. I love the last part about family and support. It makes me cry because not everyone has it.

  29. Huyen

    I got tears in my eyes. He is caring, how sweet is that! Reading your experience making me want to be a mom and leading a challenging yet happy family life.
    Wish you all the best!

  30. Danielle

    Just made me cry. This is what life is about, folks. The simplest, kindest gestures.

  31. Becca

    This is so sweet! I’ve got 2 that are 18 months apart and I know exactly what you’re talking about with the feeling that you are breaking up fights all day long. Love the sweet moments like this that remind you they do love each other!

  32. This is just the sweetest and I love that someone managed to snap a picture!

  33. Katie

    I just found your cute blog! Thanks for being willing to share how important motherhood, faith and family are!

  34. Victoire

    Kids learn from example. Proof that you and your husband are loving parents.

  35. Melissa

    This was beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  36. Carrie

    This reminds me of me and my brother. He’s 18 months younger and at 28 and 29 and several states away from each other, those moments are few and far between. But he text me the other day to ask me about a guy I was seeing and making sure he was treating me right. It was that little “I got you” unnecessary but completely sweet

  37. Jeannie

    What a heartwarming story. I am the oldest and have 3 siblings. I was like this for years, growing up. “Ive gotcha”. Not quite as close now days.

    One’s upbringing has a lot to do with being close. There are ups and downs, but the lessons stick. Keep up the good work.

    Jeannie – electronicbabyscale.com