Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ABSENCE

: the state of being not present

Last Friday, I took my 11 year old daughter, A, to the airport.  She boarded a plane and I left the airport alone.  She was nervous, excited, giddy - all things that an eleven year old girl does really well.  A was on her way to Milwaukee to visit J's parents.  This trip was an impromptu gift for several of us: time with her grandparents and her first solo flight a gift for A, time alone with A a gift to Me-Me and Grandpa, time alone a gift for me.  Her flight up went well (for which I am very thankful since I need her to willingly board the plane again tonight!) and she called to let us know she had arrived safely.

She called that evening to see what we were going.  She called Saturday to see how K's soccer game went.  She asked to talk to her sisters.  She talked to me.  She talked to J.  After a phone call or two of this, J and I realized that she missed us.  Since our girls have been little, they've spent time without us at my parents' house and J's parents' house.  But none of them have ever done it without sisters as companions.  It was sweet to see our absence from her make her heart grow fonder.  And A wasn't the only one.

Last night at bedtime, I told K to grab her most recent library book and go read in bed until I joined her.  "Can I clean my room instead, Mom?"  "Clean your room?" I say, puzzled.  Her room is strewn with toys and clothes - all her doing.  After helping her ready her room for a playdate on Friday, I've since then left it to K.  The result of that was quite a mess.  She's going to voluntarily take care of this mess?  Is she angling for a later bedtime?  Apparently not, because K's reply was,  "Yes, I want to clean my room so that it's nice and clean and beautiful when A gets home tomorrow!"

A and K had been sharing a room for a few days before A's trip.  K has a spare bed in her room and A wanted to sleep in there with her.  Actually, A is ready to just move into the room, but we thought we'd give it a few nights (or weeks) before moving furniture and clothing from one room to another.  K adores having another person share a room with her.  She is such an extrovert that she doesn't even want to sleep alone.  And we've found from past experiments that A and K make pretty good roommates.  While K is four years younger, A is an early to bed, early to rise girl, so the earlier lights-out doesn't bother her.  And sharing a room with her six year old sister gives this tween a reason to let her little girl side reign.  She plays zoobles, Barbies and dress-up with K - a gift only a youngest sister can give.

K is excited to have her sister, playmate and roommate return tonight.  A's flight gets in at 7, so I imagine K will be on pins and needles in the hours between school and airport.  But her room is ready.  Because K not only cleaned it last night, she got up early this morning to finish tidying and vacuum.  Yes, the vacuum was in use in my home prior to 8 AM this morning.  I can assure you this is not the norm.  It may, in fact, be the earliest wake up call my vacuum cleaner has ever received.  But K wanted the room completely clean and ready for A's return.

I know I have years ahead of me of girls squabbling, arguing and generally being annoyed with each other.  After all, one purpose of siblings is to learn conflict resolution in a safe environment.  But having sisters also exposes your own selfishness.  And as much as we each need to see that, it's never fun to do.  So raising three girls has its fair share of blessings and challenges.

But today the blessings are shining a bit brighter, taking up more room in the forefront of our lives, reminding us that it's a very sweet thing to raise three girls who enjoy each other (even when they are completely unwilling to admit it).

A, K and B

3 comments:

Allison said...

Beautiful post! I especially love the line, "After all, one purpose of siblings is to learn conflict resolution in a safe environment."
I have never thought of it that way. I love it!

The Mom said...

I think my sisters and I must be qualified experts in the field of conflict resolution. It is good to hear sibling rivalry, arguing, bickering, backbiting, competition annoyance, and frustration stated in such a positive manner. I need to remember to pass this along to my children. Seriously, this was so sweet to read about A and K sharing a room now. You know we ended up with much the same situation at our house and it worked well for Son Two and Baby Son even though there was an eight year difference in age between them!

Variations On A Theme said...

Yes. I'm the middle of three girls. So much love and frustration and learning about conflict and resolution. Love you.