There are people I've wished could walk a mile in my shoes, if not to see things my way, at least to understand where I'm coming from. My sister is one of those on the list. She is 10 years older than me and perceived as that much wiser. I'm not disputing her wisdom, I just believe her expertise comes from different life lessons, and sometimes I feel we are as radically different as two siblings can be. She looks completely different, with olive skin and black hair, standing about five foot five. I resemble a ghost in the winter and I'm nearly six feet tall. She likes heavy metal and being the centre of attention while I prefer music on the mellow side and I blush as soon as people I don't know turn my way and I'm on the spot.
She is outgoing and strong willed, ready to debate her point until you see things her way. I'm quick to say, "I see your point" and stick to situations I'm comfortable in.
I've always looked up to my big sister for the things she is that I am not, but I've also wanted to be recognized by her for who I am and what I do. I felt that happened last week when Cathy walked a mile in my mommy shoes.
Cathy asked to take my three-year-old daughter Kaitlyn (K) for a few days to have some alone time with her before the baby I'm now carrying is born.
I was hesitant, as K is going through a time of testing limits and asserting her independence. That's a nice way of saying she's being bossy and throwing lots of tantrums when she doesn't get her way.
Worries aside, I knew having some special time with Auntie Cathy was very important and would mean a lot to both of them.So I sent my sister an email with boundaries and ways to discipline K that I ended up cutting short because it was getting a little unmanageable and I knew things would be more slack at Auntie's house anyway. That's part of the fun of visiting Auntie!
I packed K lots to do and we talked for weeks about how to act while at Auntie's house. Then I held my breath and let her go.It wasn't long until Cathy called to ask if K was feeling OK. She had a cold, but that wasn't keeping her down, and I knew she was referring to the whining, bossy, grumpy attitude K displays when she thinks she can get away with it.
She instantly related and all of a sudden I could hear some admiration for me in her voice. I told her how important it is to keep boundaries with K and we talked for at least half an hour about the struggles involved in raising a trying three-year-old.
She didn't want discipline to ruin what she envisioned as a fun play weekend with K, so instead she let Kaitlyn pick what she wanted to do each day and as timelines weren't an issue it worked for the most part. There were still times she needed to use a little discipline (like when K threw a screaming fit in Tim Hortons because she wanted to sit on the floor) but for the most part, it was smooth sailing and they had a lot of fun.
I, of course, can't afford to have days like that because it becomes expected and I've spent this week de-programming K from her weekend with Auntie. But it's worth it if for nothing more than to hear that voice of understanding from my big sister.