Not having grown up with a sibling, I'm still getting used to all this sibling revelry. Or rivalry, depending on the moment.
They are opposites in so many ways, Finn and Reese. She is slow and steady, he is fast and furious but both of them are sensitive and kind-hearted, as well as unbelievably impatient. And they love so many of the same things passionately and whatever they don't love passionately, they do, simply because the other one does, making the item in question at risk for short supply.
He wants her purses and sunglasses, she discovers a deep need for his balloons and the baby toys she hasn't glanced at in a year or two. It's simply about guarding what's yours, what might be yours, never mind the value of the actual thing. I once had to intervene in a dispute over posession of a piece of packaging, the gift long forgotten, the plastic sheathing somehow wildly fascinating.
They understand eachother in ways I do not. He brings her the things he knows she wants; kind offerings, her blanket, her Sippy cup. They are given up to her almost with reverence, his eyes smiling at the delight he knows he is about to see in hers. She sees what he needs, the fall where no one knows what happened and he cannot tell us; she is his voice explaining what exact body part was hurt and how, what he needs to make it all better. She knows what he needs better than anyone and will be his voice, ensuring he gets exactly that and no less. There is also this:
REESE: Finn, that is my balloon. THIS is your balloon.
(LOUDER): THIS IS YOUR BALLOON. THIS ONE!
REESE: THIS ONE, FINNIE!!!!!!!!!THIS ONE!!!
(SOME SORT OF SHUFFLING, SCUFFLING)
REESE: Yep, that one Finnie. Good job.
So much of the time I hold myself back when I hear them get into it, in the midst of playing so nicely, dress-up or cars or school, both of them reeling with righteousness. I want to go in and tear them apart and make them apologize and make it all fine and fair. But I wait. I curb my every instinct to go in and sometimes, in that extra minute, the problem is solved. He moves over or she gives him the crayon or they both find something else to do. All is well. And they've done it alone. No arbiter of justice to impose upon them. They've navigated their world and have found a path to okayness and I am thrilled for them - for their luck in finding a home, a person with which to find their way.
When we are at school picking up Reese and Finn is playing amongst the big kid toys, delirious with joy, his diaper sticking a bit up out of his pants and one of the kids calls him "diaperhead" - something he is totally unfazed by, it is Reese who is offended:
"He's no Diaperhead. That's my brother."
And when we are at the park playing and a big kid comes a little too close to Finn, there is Reese, warning:
"Be nice to him. That's my brother."
I tell her how proud I am, her looking out for Finn this way. How lucky they both are to have someone who has their back. How he will protect her and love her just as much as she does him. But of course, she doesn't know. Already, she doesn't remember a time without him, her brief two years and eleven months on Earth before him a distant memory.
There is no before Finn for Reese. Obviously, there is no before Reese for Finn. There is only the two of them, two little sweet specks on this planet together, everything better and stronger and more difficult and more lovely because of it.