Don't Forget Your Sister

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Growing up my parents always encouraged my sister and me to stick together. It didn't matter if we were playing, going out, or just spending the day at home - they always made it known that they appreciated when we spent time together and when I looked out for my baby sister. As we got older we both resented but also respected what they spent years trying to teach us. Even as an adult woman with my own family, when my sister calls, I am there. I try and help the best that I can because it is just instinctive. It's just what you do as sisters. As siblings. 
Fast forward to my girls. Ahh. My girls. Ava is at the age where she socializes and plays with kids her own age and sometimes Olivia has a hard time with this. It's never when Ava is participating in her extracurricular activities, it only happens when we are with other kids. More so when other kids don't have younger siblings for Olivia to play with. Ava will just run off and leave Olivia behind, sometimes with Olivia trying to catch up, frustrated. It actually breaks my heart to see, and I don't hesitate to flag Ava down and remind her: don't forget your sister. Granted they are four and two, but I can't help but feel like I need to instill some of those same values that my parents did. I want Ava to look out for Olivia, I want to encourage Ava to include her sister, and I want Ava to realize that as the oldest - there are certain responsibilities we inevitably have with our sibs (though I would never burden her with all the responsibilities I had, because ultimately, it is Justin and I that hold the bulk of said responsibilities).
I know they need their own space, boundaries, and Ava hanging out with kids her own age shouldn't always include her sister ( and she does have that A LOT)... but when it comes to playing at the park, inviting kids over to our home, and things of that nature... I don't feel like it calls for Olivia to be left behind. I got so disappointed and upset yesterday when I watched Ava not only leave her sister behind but run from her and hurt her feelings. Olivia calls Ava her best friend on a daily basis and I was just crushed to see Ava behave that way.
But then, I just felt crummy. I did scold Ava about it more than once. More than twice. I mean what is the healthy median here? If I had things my way (wouldn't that be nice?), my girls would be the best of friends and put each other first no matter what. But things aren't my way and I can't dictate anything outside of what I've already done. These are the growing pains that I so badly wish my mom was here to give some advice on. Justin and I talked to Ava about this entire ordeal again this evening and while I know she understands a lot of what we are saying, I also know this won't be the last time we have this conversation.
SO, parents. What did you, what are you currently doing, or what is the happiest median when it comes to your children including their siblings? Let me know. Share your thoughts. Give me allll the feedback! My girls are just over 2.5 years apart and I'm sure that the hardest conflicts from this topic are yet to come. 
Pictures of my sweet girls because I know no matter the trials, they love each other SO very much.

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