Raising Siblings

Photo of author

By Michael

Photo of siblings

It is an understatement to say that I do not have your typical setup as a father. Three kids, the only thing they have in common is me and my last name. When I say that these 3, genuinely being siblings, is one of my greatest accomplishments, I don’t say that lightly, or without pain, tears, and personal sacrifice behind it.

I’ve written about my oldest son before. The uphill battle I went through, simply to just be his dad. All those struggles, the frustration, and the agreements formed the foundation needed for these three to truly be siblings.

And when I say they’re truly siblings, believe me, they are!

When my second wife and I got divorced, I already had the visitation schedule established with my oldest. My daughter was 4 not yet in school, but my oldest son was. So the schedule was firmly established. I purposefully modeled the schedule for my daughter to mirror what I had established for my son.

Despite only seeing one another every other weekend, a week during Christmas break, and 4 weeks in the summer, the two of them were undoubtedly siblings prior to the divorce, and I wasn’t about to let that change. My daughter looked up to her older brother (at the time) and was as excited when he would come to the house, as she was heartbroken when he had to leave.

My son, the oldest for me, but the youngest for his mom, was already firmly into his older brother’s role of being annoyed with his little sister. The two of them having even a slight chance of having a typical brother/sister dynamic has easily been one of my top goals for them. Despite the miles that separate them, the days apart, and all the things they’ve had thrown against them, if you know them, you know them to truly be brother & sister.

Now, with our youngest, the same goal has been there for me. The same obstacles are there. Mainly that of time, but that hasn’t altered Harrison in getting excited when we pick up ‘Bubby’ & ‘Sissy’, or for him to show a bit of melancholy when they’ve gone back to their respective mothers. To him, they are undoubtedly his older brother, who he will kick and beat up on, and his older sister, who he has never once tried to hurt, but gets a kick out of pestering her.

That’s why this is one of my favorite photos.

Just looking at it, it’s that clear sibling dynamic between them that I love.

Harrison, the youngest, who has just now started standing on his own & likes to think he’s more capable than he is, tries to take steps & is looking up, judging his older brother for not keeping the pace he wants.

Despite his face being hidden, you can tell Canaan is clueless about what to do and how to hold his brother’s hand. Really, just clueless about everything going on here. (He’s a 17-year-old with too many other things on his mind!)

Then Abby is looking on. Laughing because not only does she know what her little brother is thinking & doing, but she knows her older brother is clueless, & is managing to get told off by the nonverbal toddler. I love it. I love everything about it.

Three completely different human beings. Growing up in completely different households. Having completely different lives. Yet the one constant they do have joins them together in siblingness, that cannot be denied, and will connect them for the rest of their lives.

And I’m pretty damn proud of that!

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