I promised a quick shopping trip and a pretzel treat for my girls, Ella and Gracie last week. We do this often, if they’re not being too sassy. They lost their privilege at first after they failed to stop their constant bickering in the backseat of my compact car.

“But she won’t stop poking me!” Ella cried. 

That bickering happens between sisters who are 6 and 4. It happens between sisters who are much older, too. Maybe you know about this? I know I do. The good thing about sister arguments is it usually stops and makes a good story or lesson for the future.

My sisters and I have had a few of those moments. Most are forgettable, a couple of them aren’t. Either way, we take the disputes, learn from them and create another memory in the process. We’ll often find ourselves laughing at those times gone awry. 

Fortunately for my girls, driving past the mall was only a temporary punishment. I knew I’d have to make a trip back that day as it was the only place I could purchase a specific birthday gift I wanted for my niece. That’s the downfall of trying to teach kids important life lessons. Discipline is often an inconvenience for the parent. 

We do it anyway. I bet you do, too.

When we arrived at home, Ella needed some space. She had to get away from her sister and take a moment to calm down. 

Mom did, too.

My husband, Kyle happened to be home for lunch at the time, which admittedly made me quite pleased. He’s better at the discipline thing and the girls know it. He explained to our 4 year old that poking her sister, Ella was frustrating and made her upset. To which Gracie responded,

“But I was just trying to talk to her.”

Gracie and I are a lot alike. I am usually “just trying to talk” when my arguments get started, too. 

Finally, when the day was waning and those girls got hungry enough for their pretzels, they apologized to each other and to me.

“I love you, Ella” the 4 year old profoundly stated while giving her sister a bear hug to accompany the words. Ella reciprocated the message. I melted into a pile of mush. 

Their trip back to the mall was good. We smelled candles and tried on new lotion and even picked out Christmas ornaments for this new holiday season. They spent an entire hour in a public place without bickering or arguing or whining. 

As a reward, they received a pretzel with caramel and lemonade to wash it all down. And when we got home and the sugar high began to crash, they started bickering again. 

Clearly I need to work on my discipline skills.

Here’s what I know about sisters. They are loving, kind, funny and irritating all in the same day. Age 6 or 36 – it doesn’t matter. There will always be arguments and if you’re lucky, there will always be great big bear hugs to make up. Those two little girls, God willing, will have a lifetime of happy and sad and brilliant memories together. 

And someday they will realize their lives couldn’t possibly be complete without the company of one another; pokes and all. 

Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.