We get a lot of summer visitors. Why wouldn’t we? Scenic island–check. Sunny, mid-sixties-to-seventies days–check. Kayaks, trails, farmers market–check. Terrific bakery (OK, I’m a little biased since I work there, but 99% of customers agree, “Holly’s Buns Are Best.”)–check.
By the way, lest you think I am bragging–the rest of the year is largely clouds, rain of some form or other, wind, and temperatures in the 40-50s range. Not so many visitors then. But summers here in the San Juans are AWESOME.
So, lots of visitors: family, friends, friends-of-friends. Currently we’re being visited by the family of the sister of my best friend from high school. And she has the Best. Kids. Ever.
The daughter’s about to turn sixteen, the son’s not quite thirteen. I’ve known families with just this configuration of ages, and their parents usually end up apologizing for infecting our island paradise with their squabblesomeness, as though it were contagious. “Pshhh,” we say. “All sisters and brothers fight. That’s nothing. You should’ve seen me and my sister…”
The thing is, this bro & sis DON’T fight. They LIKE each other. They’re affectionate. They tease, but in a sweet way, like besties. Even when they’re playing competitive games that my husband and I have learned not to engage in without marriage counseling. Crazy Eights and Hearts? No fights. Bananagrams? Nothin’. Washers? They try to beat their parents.
And of course they split the last piece of pie as a matter of course.
My husband and I are astounded…and delighted.
And I am CURIOUS. How did this come to be? Why is it so uncommon?
Is it parenting? These kids’ parents are certainly mellow, cool people. But I know lots of mellow, cool parents whose kids act like contestants in The Hunger Games.
Is it birth order? Our own two boys always got along pretty well, but our younger son acknowledges that if he’d been the elder, there’d have been a new sheriff in town. Maybe our friends’ girl is just one of those sweeties like our son. (Where was she when I was undergoing mental waterboarding by MY older sister?)
Is it the fact that they’re on vacation? In my own experience, that makes the squabbles worse, not better. So much interesting new stuff to squabble over!
Is my sample skewed? Maybe there are tons of great sister-and-brother pairings out there, and I’ve somehow never met ’em.
So help me out here. What causes some sibling pairs to get along while others fight like cats and dogs? What variables are at play? How did your own experience with your siblings inform your thinking on this?