Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Balancing Identity

Riley is contemplating whether or not to audition for the next musical at a community theatre. We had a conversation about it where every other word out of her mouth seemed to be "Sylvia."

I have tried so hard to promote their individualism, but at the same time, not label them. I have not succeeded.

Their accomplishments have put them on different paths, and their own sense of who they are stems from those accomplishments, as well as their sense of their sibling.

When Sylvia has trouble in school, she exclaims that she's not Riley. When Riley tries to picture herself on a stage, she compares herself to Sylvia.

I have told them both over and over, "I don't expect you to be your sister. I love who you are."

Some form of understanding their identity is good. When they're in their element, they are confident. They aren't afraid to try new things because they believe in their own ability to conquer it.

In new areas, they can't help but wonder how they stack up to those around them. Of course, the most natural comparison is their sister.

But we all do it, don't we?

We all wonder how we compare to our colleagues, our siblings, our neighbors. In school, if we're graded on a curve, our own scores are completely related to how our classmates did.

Comparison is unavoidable.

I told Riley that I will support whatever decision she makes...as long as it's her own. Right now, I can't truly assess what she wants to do, and I think it's because she doesn't know.

At least, when the conversation was over, we were holding hands and smiling together. I hope that at least that message got through; she's always got me, no matter what.

1 comment:

BigLittleWolf said...

Comparison is unavoidable, especially when your kids are the same sex and close in age.

(I got a lot of the same thing from both my boys relative to the other, during various periods. I'll just say that eventually, they manage to hold their own and come into their own - and you realize - and they realize - that their own differences require a different parental touch.

I love the way you close this post, April. In the end, they do understand that we're on their side.