the thing about sisters

I was trying to think of a way to describe Catie and Lucy’s relationship, and all I can come up with is that they are just sisters. I mean, obviously they are, but sometimes it hits me more than others. They are constantly either fighting or loving each other, and it often feels like there’s very little middle ground.

On the weekends, I’ll hear them on the baby monitor when Catie wakes up and says, “Come on, Lucy, let’s go downstairs.” This is the greatest thing about 7 year-olds, in my opinion: Catie has learned how to use the toaster, so she can make frozen waffles for herself and Lucy (don’t judge, at least they’re the whole wheat kind), and I set up cups of milk in the fridge the night before, and boom: breakfast. They eat, and they play, and they let me sleep, and it is glorious.

Or at least, it is until one of them gets mad and starts screaming, then comes to my room to tattle on the other.

Catie has never really been a “baby” person. She doesn’t notice babies or “ooh” and “ahh” over them like a lot of little girls. And I don’t think she’s ever played with a baby doll in her life. Lucy is the little mama who loves her baby dolls and feeds them bottles and tucks them in with blankets. And that’s fine – it’s great that they’re so different and like their own thing. But at the same time, being a big sister brought out a nurturing side of Catie that I had no idea existed.

Last week, Chris and I took the kids out for dinner, and afterward we stopped for frozen custard at Goodberry’s. The kids ate theirs, and then wanted to run around and play for a few minutes. There’s sort of an outdoor patio-type sitting area there, and the weather was nice, so I said ok, they could play for a while. They were a few yards away, and Lucy tripped and fell on the cement. She wasn’t really hurt, I think it scared her more than anything. Before I could even react, Catie gasped and said, “Lucy! Are you ok?” And she dropped to her knees and stretched her arms out to give Lucy a hug. Lucy ran to her and they hugged for a minute while Catie patted her back and said, “It’s ok, it’s ok.” Then she stood up and said, “Come on, I’ll take you to Mommy,” held her hand, and walked Lucy over to where Chris and I were sitting.

It was just one of those moments that struck me because they were so sweet with each other, and it just amazes me when I see much they’ve bonded with each other. I remember when Lucy was first born and Catie was so resentful of the new baby taking my attention away from her, and I worried it would always be like that. And sure, those feelings still pop up occasionally, but for the most part, that’s so not the case.

My mom snuck this picture of me showing the girls something on my phone. I don’t even remember what, but I love this picture. (Also note that all 3 of us have minions from “Despicable Me” on our respective t-shirts.)

The main source of their fighting is because whatever Catie is doing, Lucy wants to do it too. If Catie has a particular toy, Lucy wants to play along (whether Catie wants her to join in or not). And when we go to a restaurant and they give the kids crayons at the table, Lucy cries because she wants whatever color crayon Catie has. Not because she even wants that particular color crayon, but just because Catie has it too, and she wants to imitate her big sister.

A few weeks ago, my mom designed this special “scavenger hunt” for the kids, where they had to follow a series of clues – little pieces of paper that told them where the next clue was hidden, which eventually led to a prize (a set of markers that are designed for kids to draw on the windows, and it wipes right off). My mom gave them magnifying glasses and “detective hats” for this, and I took this picture.

I didn’t realize it until I saw it later that Lucy is looking at Catie to see what she’s supposed to be doing, and copying her.

Yesterday we went to a playground, and Lucy barely spent any time in the “little kid” section because she wanted to follow Catie around and climb on the big playground equipment like her big sister. Things that Catie would’ve been terrified to attempt as a toddler, Lucy does just because Catie does it.

I don’t know the likelihood of it, but I hope they stay this close as they get older. Because even with the occasional screaming fights, it’s still pretty fantastic to see.

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