The other morning, whilst getting the children ready, my husband said: “We haven’t weighed Marigold for ages. Shall we give her a weigh?” “ooh, yes, let’s give her a weigh!” I reply.
Harrison responds with panic-stricken little face:
“NOOOOOOO” Don’t give her away!!! You can’t give her away!!!”
Cue some time spent discussing the difference between “giving a weigh” and “giving away” and reassurance that we would never, ever, ever give his beloved little sister away.
Very cute right?
They say every cloud has a silver lining. But for all those who have children with genetic conditions, medical problems, general ill health and other complications, it is very difficult and often impossible in the gravest situations, to work out whatever that silver lining could ever possibly be.
When Marigold first went in to hospital, the affect on her brother was a big worry in my mind. Not only had my sensitive little three year old had the limelight stolen away from him with a newborn baby and all the attention the comes with this, now she was a baby with a unique genetic condition and all the medical complications that come with that. Aside from spending time away from him whilst Marigold was in hospital, life became a series of follow up appointments. Time we might have spent in the park on a sunny afternoon was often spent waiting at the children’s hospital. Quite often waiting times would be anything up to several hours. That’s pretty tough for a boisterous little boy with the attention span of a goldfish. And if we weren’t up the hospital, we would be at the emergency doctor getting her chest listened to for the umpteenth time. Or we would have to change all our plans to go out as she had just got a temperature / thrown up and I was freaking out about leaving the house. I worried Harrison would start to resent his little sister and the fact life was now revolving around her and her health issues. I was worried that quite often, stressed out, exhausted and upset by everything, I would vent my frustration on him and quite often lose my rag and then be full of self loathing for being a BAD MUM.
But it is funny how life works out. Far from resenting Marigold, my wonderful little boy couldn’t adore her more. Maybe it is from seeing her sick so often, maybe it is because he knows Marigold may always need a bit of extra help and support through life, but the love and affection between them is very real and very moving. Marigold lights up for her brother. From the earliest age, he has been the one she saves her smiles and laughs for. It is difficult to feed her at mealtimes as generally she just sits in wonderment and gapes at him. She is besotted. As for Harrison, the first question when he wakes up in the morning is “Where’s Marigold?” He adores her. When she cries, he cries (her one year old jabs were very traumatic – he was screaming long after Marigold had stopped.) He can’t bear to see her upset. He has never, ever said a bad word against her. We have had quite a few “I don’t like you mummy / daddy” moments during the gross “threenage” years, but this is ALWAYS qualified with “I only like Marigold. Marigold is my best friend.”
I am so proud of how he has coped with the past year. I am so proud of the protective and loving big brother he has become. I can’t help thinking that in a very difficult year, this is one of our silver linings, that adversity has created a very strong sibling connection which I hope will stand the test of time.
Perhaps someone would like to remind me of this blog post when they are teenagers and at each other’s throats?
But I hope not.
And to end, as I know you have been humming it since you read the title, a classic clip of this lovely song, for brothers everywhere including mine: