For her

“She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities…”
~Barbara Alpert

Rhema and Hope, ages 8 and 5.


Early Sunday morning I was half asleep as I helped Rhema in the bathroom.

My plan was to stash her in her room and race back to bed. But then Hope popped out and begged me to let Rhema come into her room.

I hesitated, thinking of the many ways it could all go wrong. Fast. Rhema’s room is Rhema-proofed. Hope’s room is not. Any number of things could get broken. Or Rhema might “escape” Hope’s room and be left unattended for a period of time.

I remembered a recent conversation with Hope at the playground. A fun time for Hope, by definition, must include friends. And that day she was lonely, lamenting the fact that she didn’t have anyone to play with. I’d told her to remember that she has her sister as a friend, she always has someone to play with.

“It’s not the same,” she’d said. “Rhema just runs away.”

I have two children. Sometimes it seems like I have two only children.

I’d stooped down and gazed into her eyes, loved her long eyelashes.  “I know it’s not the same. But keep trying, ok? Rhema might want to play with you just as much as you want to play with her.”

So on an early Sunday morning, looking again into those pleading eyes, I agreed to leave the two of them alone in Hope’s room.

Rhema has grown and matured in so many ways. As has Hope. We’re able to do and try more things, things that would have seemed impossible just a year ago. I’m thankful that even just the trying is possible now.

As I crawled under the covers, I whispered the arrangement to Brandon.

And then neither of us could sleep. I was tempted to go in and confirm that Rhema wasn’t swinging on the light fixture, and I wanted to remind Hope not to be too bossy, and I thought maybe I should go help them play.

Then I thought of my own sisters and the hours and years of our perfectly imperfect unforgettable wonderful childhood play. And I knew I should just let my girls work it out. Let them be. Let them be sisters.

We smiled and chuckled as we listened to the sounds of our children, playing together. Their own sister way.

There was the comfortable harmony of Hope’s ceaseless chatter and Rhema’s self-singing.

There was,  “Rhema? Wanna play dress up?”

And then, amazingly, the sound of Hope coaxing Rhema into full Cinderella garb. “Arms in. Now stand up… turn around. Hooray!!!”

Because for her, for her sister, Rhema will wear an itchy princess dress.

There was jumping on the bed.

There was laughter – perhaps they laughed at different things – but they laughed together.

There was the joy of answers to prayers I didn’t even realize I was praying.

24 thoughts on “For her

  1. That is wonderful! I completely understand what you mean about wanting/needing to watch her in her siblings room. Our Ella has recently been able to engage and play with her siblings more too. And I know how special it is to see/hear those moments between them. I love it when they are able to play together, in some way.

    It is great, for everyone!

  2. Isn’t it amazing when they connect? No matter how briefly, it’s always precious and heartwarming. Good going Mama for giving something you thought wasn’t possible a try!!!

  3. Oh I love this! I get the “two only children” part well. And i know the urge to go in and facilitate all the time. But those moments, playing like sisters…beautiful.

  4. “I have two children. Sometimes it seems like I have two only children.”

    Oh, yes indeed. Here’s to the moments when we can celebrate togetherness and whether it is good or bad behavior, acting like typical siblings.

  5. “There was the joy of answers to prayers I didn’t even realize I was praying.” AMEN. Such a beautiful post, beautiful word-picture you have painted of your daughters finding their way together, weaving their hearts even closer to one another.

  6. The most beautiful sound in thw world is children laughing. I love hearing of how Hope looks after her sister. She is going to be a healer.

  7. What a beautiful, answered prayer. Rejoicing with you! Lord, let that sister bond grow stronger and stronger as the years go by.

  8. Sorry you missed the extra sleep, but so happy that two sisters enjoyed a moment like that together (and that you could hear it as it happened). It is amazing when they connect, however briefly. I so know the feeling of having “only” children – I just have three of them, two with autism and one without, and they are all three at very different places. I love watching the moments when they connect, in their own ways.

  9. Wow, tears are in my eyes. I understand that “having two only children” sentiment, too. This is so sweet…so encouraging…

  10. Love this post! Love that they are playing together. But most of all, I love that very last line – “There was the joy of answers to prayers I didn’t even realize I was praying.” Beautiful!

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