Sibling friendships. Is it possible?

Last night it was after 11 when I finally chased my teenage boys (14 and 16) off to bed. Like most other Americans, we’ve been staying up rather late to watch the Olympics. My older girls (20 and 18) were already up in their room, not quite to bed yet, but aiming to head that way soon. The boys stopped at the girls’ doorway at the top of the stairs for a chat. Within minutes the voices and the laughter got loud. I listened with a smile on my lips, despite the fact that the decibel level was well beyond bedtime levels, and my ‘moderator’ instincts were wishing for silence.

Siblings who are friends. It is a goal of every mother, I suppose. My younger ones are still a work in progress in that department. About 75% of the time they do pretty well. The rest of the time they alternate between scowling grimly across the room at each other, giving each other the cold shoulder, running to me screaming for justice, and pelting each other with dirty tube socks. Yeah, still some growing up to do…

But these big kids. Of course their relationships aren’t perfect either, but it is obvious that they already have a deep appreciation for each other. They find each other amusing and smart and interesting. They are true friends. I’m not sure if I really appreciated my siblings til my 20’s. I am so happy my kids didn’t have to wait until adulthood to begin to appreciate each other.

Talk continues loudly. Laughter belts out frequently. My husband has already gone to bed since he rises at 4:30 for work, but thankfully our bedroom is at the opposite end of the house and my husband has the fan turned on. Still, I feel a tension to speak. They’re 20 feet from the 10 year old boys’ doorway, and I don’t know how sleep could be happening that close to the ruckus.

But still I sit smiling. A few more minutes. Time slipping by. The moments are short. Eldest was planning to move out, into an apartment with a friend this fall. Plans didn’t quite materialize, and she’s home after all. But Friday morning John and I will head to the dorms with Second Daughter, getting her settled in with 3 roommates, ready to begin her college adventure. Time is short.

And so they laugh, and joke and tell stories.

And I bite my tongue for moment after moment. Until finally the referee overrides the sentimental in me. I zing a message upstairs via Eldest’s Facebook page. “Shhh.”

I’m not sure if my daughter’s even watching her computer, such is the fun they’re having. A minute goes by, then two. There’s a group chuckle and then the noise quiets and the big boys trail off to their bedroom. And I’m left with a smile and a regret at cutting off the fun and a deep abiding joy in the friendships my children are building.