I told a friend a few weeks ago that my biggest fear about schooling was that my kids would lose the closeness they have with each other. If they're in school away from each other all day will they still be the best friends they are with each other? Will it kill the bond they have?
Lately, I've noticed the close-knit relationship my kids have with each other. Umberto is super social but when it comes to his sisters, he'll stand with them against even his closet friends. And the girls adore him. While the girls fight each other, present an outside force, and they stick together. It's an amazing thing for me to witness.
I am not close to my brothers. I love them but we don't talk on the phone, don't hang out, and never really had a close relationship. I would not call my brothers my friends. Even when faced with outside forces we scattered rather than stuck together (with the exception of something awful that befell my brother, I stood by him through the whole sordid mess). When I meet H, I thought his relationship with his siblings was odd. I'll admit that it bothered me. I think now because I was a little jealous. H talks to his siblings often--through chatting and phone calls. His siblings send us postcards from their travels. When we went to Mexico, they whisked him away for a sibling only weekend (of which I was intensely jealous). They really are friends in a way that I didn't think was possible between siblings.
Now I see this same kind of relationship between my kids. We have the space for separate bedrooms (something I longed for when I was nine as Umberto is) but they choice to share a single room. The girls can't sleep when Umberto goes away for overnights, and cry longingly for him to be home. They play together, watch movies together, invent games to play. They are a forceful unit of three. Umberto watches over Camille at school for example. He was the one who made us aware of Camille's difficulty in making friends.
I wonder if this closeness comes from how close we are as a family. H and I appreciate a night alone but we've never let having children stop us from doing things. Our kids have been to shows, to coffee shops, to book stores. They join us for our rambling walks in neighborhoods. We've never thought of them as having separate lives from ours. Our lives are mingled together not just because of blood but because we all genuinely like each other. This is what I imagined a family could be when I was younger but never quite believed could happen. Now we're living that imagining.