When I think of my daughters together, they mostly represent a time management issue or variables in a math problem. “If daughter A has soccer at Aviator Field in Mill Basin at 4 pm, and daughter B has gymnastics in SoHo at 4:30 pm, how long will it take to get down Ocean Parkway and over the Brooklyn Bridge?”
I certainly am aware of my girls as individuals — one likes sweet, one salty; one showers in the morning, one at night — and I consider us all together as a unit, particularly when it comes to planning what to make for dinner, what movie we can all watch, or what type of vacation will make everyone happy.
I just never really think about my kids and their relationship to each other.
In the abstract I certainly ponder how I would like them to get along when they are grown up and I am gone. I imagine them e-mailing weekly, getting together with their spouses or partners and kids for holidays and summer vacations in a large house on some beach, or having dinner together regularly just to catch up.
As teenagers, though, I never really considered their relationship until this week. My 18-year-old is home all summer working before heading off to college. Her younger sister, 15, is having her last summer at camp. Guess what? They really miss each other. They write more letters to each other than they do to me.
We went up for visiting day and within 30 seconds of arriving, my two girls had made some excuse to go off together, leaving me sitting on a tree stump twiddling my thumbs. Most of the day was like that, the two of them holding hands, running off in a store to look for something, giggling over pictures or whispers in the back seat of the car.
There may have been a moment or two of envy on my part, but once past that, I saw how close they are and how they give each other support, grounding, and affection — all those good things you hope siblings will do for each other.
I get the sibling connection, just, maybe a little less so. I have two sisters, considerably older than me, and it took until adulthood to form more meaningful connections with them.
My girls already have something special.
I’d like to take credit for their friendship, but the only rule I every really enforced was no hitting. A little unexpectedly, something really nice has happened between them. Suddenly, I feel pressure not to screw it up. As my older girl packs to leave home, should I make sure they send birthday cards or call weekly when they’re apart? Should I e-mail them pictures or find some way to keep them in each other’s thoughts?
The answer may be to just leave them to it. Because of me, they are sisters. What they make of their relationship is up to them.
So far, so good and hopefully, for a long, long time to come.Read The Dad every other Thursday on BrooklynPaper.com.