Victoria Advocate, A Different Perspective
Squabbles often occurred when our two now-grown children lived with us, but physical fighting stayed at a minimum. I’d like to say it was an innate sense of fair play since our son was stronger than his sister. However, reality proved it had more to do with not wanting to suffer the consequences. Nevertheless, they did their share of verbal sparring. Whenever it would escalate, I’d tell them with great authority that all the arguing only meant they would be best friends once they grew up. That usually stopped the fighting long enough for them to promise me it would never happen.
At the crux of most disagreements was the desire to dominate—or at least be equal. Phil desperately wanted to be taller than his older sister. It didn’t matter how often I assured him that he would pass her up and be the tallest for the rest of their lives; he still had trouble believing it.
Then the years came when they had one foot out the door. Nancy attended college, then went to language school in Costa Rica. Phil tried college for a while, then joined the Army. Lots of coming and going in those days. At one point, I picked up a crumpled note on the table with a flight number and a few directions to pick up Phil at DFW. I sighed. I’d just been to the vast, unwieldy airport earlier in the week, picking up our daughter.
The turning point happened when my husband and I moved from East Texas to Victoria. Both children elected to stay in Tyler for a while. Since we weren’t around, they stuck together. But after a hairy deployment to Afghanistan, Phil was tired of his hometown and wanted a fresh start. Not long after that, his sister arrived and started nursing school in Victoria. Once again, they frequently hung out together. But this time, it was different. No one knew them or their history, and everyone assumed Phil was the oldest (which he loved). By this time, he had, indeed, come into his own and was several inches taller than his sister. People also thought they were a couple, which led to some funny incidents.
Once they married and started their own families, it was fun to watch them do life together. Here’s how we tell it: Our son has sons, and our daughter has daughters. I call my grandchildren the Fabulous Five. Their favorite thing to do is hang out together.
Even though our daughter and her family now live in New Braunfels, it’s an easy day trip. My husband and I left for Galveston this past weekend, but Phil said he planned to visit his sister and take the boys for cousin time. My heart swelled with joy, knowing our children still desire each other’s company. A new dynamic emerges when they’re together and we’re not around. Deeply satisfying to this mama.
It’s easy to not get along, especially with family, so we all work to stay on good terms with one another. After all, weeds sprout up in a garden with no problem. Worthless. Harmful. And quick to choke the life out of the good plants. But God isn’t content with easy. He’s all about purpose, and his purpose is for us to be unified. So we practice forgiveness regularly and don’t allow hurt feelings to fester. Psalm 133 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers (and sisters) to dwell together in unity!… For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.”
Unity starts in our own families. Hard feelings toward someone? Be quick to forgive. Life is too short to stay mad, especially with a family member.