If you've got kids, then you've got sibling rivalry.
I've talked to enough other moms to know that kids will fight, it's just in their DNA. I'm typically amazed at how quickly the bickering can begin at my house, though. Thirty seconds into breakfast and someone is offended that their sibling is "looking" at them.
Yes, actually noticing you're at the table is a harsh crime, I know.
Of course there are the all-out brawls that require me to run some interference. I have two boys, after all, and sometimes a full-body tackle is their way of saying, "Hey, I like you and wouldn't mind having your attention."
Their sister is not fond of this type of bonding. She's female. She'd prefer verbal communication.
But amidst all the pinching, punching, name-calling and hair-pulling, I believe they still love each other.
And last night proved it.
My daughter was off to a sleepover.
I had no idea this would cause her brothers such emotional turmoil.
Within seconds of her departure came the waterworks. Oh the sobs! The heart-wrenching cries for their sister.
"I miss her!" managed to escape their lips between blubbering wails.
I managed to get them calmed down enough to carry on with the evening's activities, but then bedtime arrived.
And the floodgate of tears opened once again.
My older son recently had his tonsils removed, so all the violent cries sent him running to the bathroom to spit up blood.
I know. Ew.
But at least it was a good argument for him to calm down - his health depended on it!
I attempted to phone their sister in hopes that a 'good-nite' greeting may bring rest, but the phone was left unanswered.
You can imagine the disappointment.
They finally drifted into dreamland when I told them the sooner they fall asleep, the sooner it will be morning and she will be home.
But wow. As sad as I felt for them (and myself - to be honest, I was missing her too), I couldn't help be full of incredible joy.
My kids genuinely like each other.
Whew. What a relief.
Plus you know I'm going to use this to my advantage the next time they're at each other's throats and declaring, "I wish you were never born!" and other hurtful phrases they love to blurt out in their anger.
Because I'm hoping a little reminder of how it feels to be apart may offer some perspective. That is, if I can just get my son to release his sister from that headlock.