My heart is still pounding. Not even five minutes ago, I broke up not one, but two knock down, drag out fights between my two youngest sons. They are 16 and 18 and trying to break up a fight between them is like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun. And I’m afraid it is not over… I don’t believe for a moment that anything was settled. Although either of them would claim otherwise, there was no “winner.”
So what’s a father to do? I fear for their safety, as they are quite capable and probably willing to seriously hurt one another. They are kids. They do not consider the consequences of their actions. For now there is a tentative cease-fire; a precarious truce that may not hold without my intervention. I am now wearing the hat of the peacekeeper. However, at the moment, I am the only one who wants peace. The boys are in their neutral corners with fire in their eyes waiting for the bell to ring. My job? Keep that bell from ringing.
Sibling rivalry takes many forms. One thing they all have in common is the angst the parents surely must feel. I love my kids equally and unconditionally and despite recent events, I know they love each other too. They have shown it time and time again. I just wish they could remember some of those times as clearly as I do. It is also clear that the spark that touched all this off has little to nothing to do with the conflict. The pressure has been building for some time.
It is in this light that I can feel some sympathy and regret for the many similar affairs my own parents had to endure. My mother always used to say, “Wait till you have kids of your own.” Yet again, I understand although I am quite sure she has no desire for me to suffer through this as some form of karmic payback. It’s just part of the deal.