"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Matryoshka Family

Within large families (I still can't quite believe this, but culturally our four child plan counts as large) there are mini-worlds. Usually there are groupings within the siblings, little hidden alliances and societies, like so many little Matryoshkas, those Russian nesting dolls that everyone brings home as souvenirs.

This week is Vacation Bible School here and the bigger two boys are shipping off every night after an early dinner to spend a drop-off evening playing games and singing songs. It's really interesting watching Pom and Nib with no big brothers and A and I all to themselves. They are buddies, which you sometimes might not notice since Nib tries to ally himself with the big boys and they all call Pom "The Baby" even now that he talks and is two years old.

I remember, that my six siblings divided into "The Big Girls" and "The Little Kids" and how it infuriated the younger set. My sister Lockbox, who lives with us, never really got over the alienation and otherness of those labels.

I think it's really lucky to be able to have the chance to spend time with my kids in more objective, removed experience. The lovely thing about family is the way they create a knowing sense of belonging. The downer is the way they can box us in. We assume positions, alliances, identities and they are almost impossible to shake.

It's pretty special to be able to know this, to think about it consciously as I look at each of my kids and as I will they to be dynamic, growing, changing beings for all their lives. Moments like sleepovers and drop offs and Mommy/son dates are good chances to wipe the lens and shake the Polaroid and see what's developing. What's in these little people and what only shows up when the siblings step away.

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1 comment:

  1. So glad the big guys are enjoying VBS and the little guys are getting some time alone. I never knew Michael was talkative until Aaron left for kindergarten, and it's been fun having the younger 3 boys in the home lime light these past few years (after about 20+ of being "the little boys!" I love how there are no end of fun ways to form groups and enjoy one another's company!