I miss the days when writing this monthly siblings post was uncomplicated. When I could easily capture photos and reflect on sibling bonds without having to think of ways in which I could include all my children or tread the balance of reflecting on life as it is versus life as it could have been. When I could share spontaneous photos from days out that captured the fun my children had together instead of wondering what those days would have been like had there not been someone missing from them.
This month I wanted to share a couple of spontaneous photos of Sophie and Thomas having fun together. Photos that capture the beautiful bond they have with each other rather than taking posed photos with one of them holding a photo of Jessica. It felt wrong to have a siblings post without including Jessica though. And so we come back to life as it might have been, inserting Jessica into the moment with a little Photoshop magic.
It’s a fine balance we tread at times. Wanting to ensure that Jessica is part of her siblings’ lives but not wanting her absence to overshadow their own moments together. The reality is that those moments are always tinged with the thought of what might have been. Watching Sophie and Thomas together; seeing how Thomas adores Sophie and how she looks out for him brings back so many memories of watching my girls together. It will always make me wonder how it would have been with Jessica physically there as part of the trio. I am sure she would have adored Thomas and he would have adored her too as he does Sophie. I suspect she would have been the calm one of the trio, balancing out Sophie’s exuberance. I’ll always wonder how different it would have been with the presence of a third sibling.
I often feel sad for all the things that Sophie lost when Jessica died. That whole experience of going through the rest of her childhood and adolescence with a sibling who was just two years older. That close bond they shared; being able to play together at the same level. Having someone to look up to; someone else to lead the way. That sense of loss feels especially acute these days when restrictions mean that Sophie can’t see her friends. Each time I see her playing alone with the toys that she and Jessica loved, that loss hits home. All those moments that might have been. How different home-schooling would have been right now with two of them at home, learning together. More chaotic, I’m sure, but they would have had each other at least.
It is lovely to see the beautiful bond that she and Thomas share though. It’s a different dynamic, of course – they’re not able to play together at the same level which means Sophie spends a lot of time playing at Thomas’s level rather than her own. There are moments of course when little brothers are annoying and big sisters are spoilsports who take interesting looking toys away, but most of the time they’re quite happy in each other’s company. I’m glad they have each other. I am sure Jessica would be too.
Thomas (2 years 5 months)
- Has been enjoying doing jigsaws over Christmas and can manage up to 24-piece puzzles by himself.
- Is starting to drop his nap in the day although this sometimes means he’ll fall asleep on the floor late in the afternoon!
- Continues to amaze us with his grasp of numbers. He has added three numbers together a few times and given us the correct answer. One of his Christmas presents was a set of scales with frogs and numbers and he can balance the number with the correct number of frogs by himself. Clever boy!
- Surprised Mummy with a nocturnal visit after discovering he could climb out of his cot and so has now moved into a big boy bed. Getting him to settle down and go to sleep in it is a challenge though as being able to get out and wander off is such a novelty!
Sophie (7 years 2 months)
- Was absolutely brilliant at helping look after Mummy and Thomas when Mummy had vertigo at the start of the year.
- Made a New Year’s resolution to learn how to hula. I have no idea how to help her achieve this as I’ve never been able to do it myself!
- Enjoyed helping take the Christmas decorations down.
- Is coping well with home-schooling and enjoying being home with Mummy again. She gets quite excited each time she gets a reward on Purple Mash for work she has done.
Jessica (forever 6 years 7 months)
- We passed the third anniversary of Jessica’s Fontan procedure at the end of December. Although this surgery went well, the memories of this time are particularly tough as it now feels like it was the beginning of the end of our time with Jessica.
- We visited Jessica’s forever bed last week and brought her some flowers. Unfortunately we couldn’t put them in her vase as the water in the vase was frozen solid. Sophie was quite fascinated by this and kept telling Jessica that her flowers were frozen in her vase.