I was looking through the pictures I took this weekend and paused when I came across this one. It made me think about the future.
In the literal sense, Mia is already looking up to her brother, but what will that look like in a few years or much later in her life? And, what kind of role model or example will Austin be for her? The responsibility of fostering a good and loving relationship between them is a big one. I realize that though it may not be the easiest thing to do some days, Mark and I will need to do our best to make sure that they have the character and support needed to have a healthy sibling relationship.
Growing up my sisters and I were not only close in age, but for the most part we were friends. I was the oldest, Lisa was 11 months after me, and Amy was 18 months after her. Amy and I had our difficulties, mostly because she wanted to do everything just like me and I couldn't appreciate that as a good thing. (Thankfully she finally realized that she was much better off just being Amy!) I also recall my grandparents threatening to pull over or never take us on vacation again if we didn't stop arguing in the back seat. However, I think those moments were just part of growing up and having sisters. When it really mattered and things were tough, we were inseparable. No one was more comforting or important to have around than each other. I know that I was not always the best "role model" for them to look up to, but thankfully many times they knew better than to follow me.
As adults we remain close friends, confidants and valuable support for each other. We make an effort to get together at least once a year and if one of us needs something we know that our sisters are there to drop everything if necessary to be there. The relationships that I have with my sisters are ones brimming with unconditional love, support, encouragement, advice, grace, laughter, an abundance of wonderful memories and hope that we will have the opportunity to always be there for each other. My only regret when it comes to my sisters is that we don't live anywhere near each other. Amy lives in Gainesville, FL and is completing her doctorate degree at the University of Florida. (So proud of you girl!) And Lisa recently moved from San Francisco, CA to Memphis, TN where she lives with her husband Matthew, son Nathan and soon to be born second son. (Can't wait to meet that little guy!)
I pray that Mark and I are able to do our part to make sure that Austin and Mia have a loving relationship that will enable them to support and encourage each other throughout their lives. I hope that as I sift through pictures years from now, there will be a stack of pictures where Mia is looking at Austin with that look of adoration. It will bring my heart joy! (And probably make me cry like I am going to do now...such a sap.)