I have always felt that my role as a parent is to prepare my children for life without me – make them capable to take care of themselves, and each other, whether its for an hour while I’m at the store, on a night out when they can drive, when they are out of my house, or if I’m taken from them unexpectedly before they’re grown. It’s not an easy thing to teach, it can’t be forced, it just has to evolve over time… lesson by lesson.
Last night, we hurried into CrossFit class at 6:30. I had just picked up Taylor from dance at 6 and the girls ate sandwiches in the car as we drove. In rushing out the door, Cate didn’t grab her shoes and shortly after we arrived, Cate stubbed her toe, tearing a piece of her skin off, and bright, red blood rushed out and dripped onto the floor. As soon as she saw the blood, she panicked and began to cry. Before she could rush over to me, Taylor took her hand, picked her up, and sat down holding Cate securely in her lap. Taylor gently smoothed Cate’s hair off her cheeks stained with tears and began to whisper into her ear. Cate relaxed slightly and leaned into Taylor’s embrace, accepting the comfort, and reached her hands around her sister’s neck.
Cate’s little back heaved as she continued to cry into her sister’s neck. Taylor settled her cheek on Cate’s head and softly rubbed her back still talking quietly in her ear. Hand over my heart, I watched them silently connect. I saw big sister taking care of her sister in a moment when Cate needed comfort. Soon Cate sat back and the fresh tears were gone. She wiped her cheeks as Taylor took her hand again to come find me. Taylor walked her over to me still holding Cate’s hand and said, “I think a Band-Aid would make Cate feel better, mom. Do you have one?” I said nothing but smiled and got her one and watched as Taylor set Cate up on the gym’s office couch and gently put it around her toe that had stopped bleeding.
The peace between them didn’t last all night. On the drive home, they got into an argument about who disliked bread crust more and whether we’d watch Sponge Bob or So You Think You Can Dance on the big TV downstairs… but when it mattered, their hearts were in the right place, with each other.