If there’s one thing you can categorically say about our family, it’s this:
My eldest and my daughter don’t get on.
Like really, really don’t get on.
They are on at each other from the moment they first see each other in the morning until after my daughter has gone to bed (my son always has to go into her room to ‘borrow’ something aka taunt her, even when she’s in bed).
It’s usually my son that starts it with some nasty comment, but then my daughter will fly off the handle at him. And so it will start. Every single, flipping day.
It’s exhausting. I’ll admit I get fed up of listening to it and dealing with it and trying to stop it. Telling them off, reasoning with them, ignoring them… None of it works.
On the rare occasions my son is nice to my daughter, she still flies off the handle at him. Then he gets cross at her because he was being nice. He can’t understand that he picks on her so often that she’s just being defensive. She doesn’t trust him and doesn’t believe he could be nice.
During November and December, my son had something new to pick on my daughter about. The panto.
It made him cross that she was doing it. That she wasn’t being paid. That it was costing the family money in terms of fuel costs, ticket prices and buying things like leotards and tights.
And he really, really didn’t want to go and see it. Why did he have to go and see it? Why did we get him a ticket?
We got him a ticket, of course, because we were proud of my daughter and we wanted her brother to see her. The panto had been a huge part of our lives for weeks and we wanted him to see why it was all worth it. He came along just before the end of the run, when we went in a big group with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and niece.
And guess what happened?
He loved it.
He didn’t just love the panto, he loved my daughter’s performance. He was so proud of her.
Suddenly his sister was the best dancer, actor and comedian in the world. And she was HIS sister! He told everyone about it. He even posted about it on Instagram (praise indeed from a teenager!).
Oh, and he really, really had to see the panto again.
The panto has done something I could never do. It has, for as long as it lasts, made my son appreciate his little sister again. He is actually being nice to her and the world is a better place.
While we are searching for a drama group or something to help her get over the panto, as well as build on the skills she’s picked up, he’s talking to his friend about one of the groups. He’s coming home every day with advice on why my daughter must join this particular group (because his friend said so).
And the other day my daughter announced: ‘Big brother said I should be in Swan Lake when I’m older’.
He’s possibly slightly over-estimating her talents there, but what a lovely thing to say!
It’s so nice to have peace between my kids and I’m going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
Thank you, panto, you really are magical!