Watching Sisters Become Friends

Sun Steeped Days

When the ultrasound tech told us we were going to have another daughter, our faces broke into smiles. I think we would have had the same reaction if she’d told us we were going to have a son, but we already knew what joy a small daughter can bring. We went home and sent the photo above to our friends and family.

At some point, as this new information about our impending family dynamic sank in, I realized I knew nothing about mothering two daughters. Y and I come from families with one boy and one girl. Much of my extended family is patterned that way as well. I grew rounder and fuller with Little Jo, and I conjured up pictures of sisters giggling into the night, sisters squabbling, and… the rueful echo of Cora Crawley saying,

No one ever warns you about bringing up daughters. You think it’s going to be like Little Women. Instead they’re at each others’ throats from dawn till dusk.

– Downtown Abbey, S1E5. 

So after Little Jo was born, I cradled her beside her crib and asked God to knit between our daughters a deep friendship, and to give me the wisdom to help cultivate it and give it space to grow. I have no sisters by parental blood, but very dear ones by Christ’s, and I know how vital those relationships can be… how full of laughter, and loving truth-telling, and the kinds of things you look back on years later and say, “I can’t believe you let me do that!” I met mine later in life, so there’s a lot of amusement and wonder and mirth for me in mothering a very young pair of sisters.

It’s a privilege now to watch them growing closer. Y came around the corner one Sunday morning to find Little Jo on the stairs, sticking her little foot out, while Lucy strapped a shoe on it with equal patience. About a month ago, I heard them giggling together, and looked over to see them sitting side-by-side wearing paper crowns, looking into a mirror and laughing as they tried out different silly faces.

This morning they clambered up on the couch together, and Lucy read The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog to Little Jo, complete with voices. I put off making breakfast for a few minutes so I could just look at them there: Lucy leaning sideways with the oversize book in her small hands, Little Jo cross-legged and bouncing beside her sister, lightly rocking them both. Our girls are definitely real children with different personalities, learning to compromise and take turns and live together… but watching them, I think I understand a little better how the fellowship of believers brings joy to the Father’s heart.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is 
when brothers dwell in unity!

– Ps. 133:1