Remember the game Perfection? The little yellow pieces had to be fitted into their places before the red plastic board popped up. And always, the ticking of the built-in timer, the incessant “click-click-click” that grew louder every second until the finale:
the board springing up, scattering little yellow pieces all over the table or the floor. Perfection was a game well-suited for a party of one.
Until I was almost eight years old, I was an only child. I played a LOT of Perfection. And jacks. I read a great deal. I built block towers and didn’t have to worry about some baby trashing my work with one swipe of its chubby hand. I put my Rescue People in peril all around my house, without the fear of some baby eating Ranger Sue’s head.
The paradigm shifted completely when my parents brought my brother home from the hospital. This was not the eighth birthday gift I’d wanted. Welcome, Some Baby.
Circumstances are different for my children. My husband and I tried unsuccessfully for a few years to conceive. We started the process of adopting our older son from Guatemala, and, a month later, we learned I was pregnant with our younger son. The boys are eleven months apart, now ages 7 and 6. They are, as one might imagine, the best of friends, the worst of enemies.
Our boys will never know the wonder of parental exclusivity; they will never know the loneliness of being the only kid in a grown-up home. Certainly, they will never have to know life without one another.
Siblings – having one, being one – can be challenging. And when the boys complain about having to pitch in (maybe by putting away each other’s toys!), I remind them that, like High School Musical heartthrob Troy Bolton says, “we’re all in this together.” We’re a family, a cohesive unit that must function as a team in order to get the job(s) done. It’s more than the occasional “camp-out” in one room. It’s making sure that everyone addresses the minutiae of daily life so the burden doesn’t continually fall on one person.
In our busy lives, domestic tranquility is hard to achieve on the best of days. Only with constant commitment to the idea of teamwork can a family begin to evolve its own perfect rhythm. Through trial and error, we’ve learned that we work best with timers and schedules. But coming to that place took work. And we all had to make the unspoken agreement to meet one another somewhere in the middle.
Disney is masterful at disguising critical life lessons in lovable characters and catchy tunes, like those in the HSM franchise. Beneath the gloss of bright costumes and toe-tapping music, one finds repeated entreaties to work together, to support one another, to coexist. And while I’d like to argue that I’m adapting this message to a greater global scope, I can honestly say that right now, it’s enough to get the boys to put socks in a hamper.
“We’re all in this together” reminds each member of our team that (s)he’s a necessary piece of this puzzle. Without someone on the other end of the play, there’s only the bounce of the basketball on the floor, the hits echoing inside a quiet gym, reflecting the lonely tick of the Perfection timer.
How lucky I am to be part of my team.
Contributed by: Deborah Bowen (NDM#368) Deborah is a DDL Parenting Blogger and proud member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Visit the Walt Disney World Moms Panel for help planning your Magical Trip. She is not a Disney employee. The postings on this site are her own and do not necessarily represent Disney’s positions or opinions.