“Here you go”, she said. Without any fanfare, my tween daughter Dahlia handed her teen brother Yousef a Valentine’s card; nothing too sentimental, of course. It had a comic book superhero theme. She hadn’t bothered to sign it.
He took the card and looked perplexed.
He obviously wasn’t used to this kind of gesture from her. Most of the time she doesn’t even acknowledge his existence, but when she does it’s usually to remind him that his mere existence is really annoying to her.
“Ahem!” I said. “How about thank you?”
“Oh, yeah, um thanks,” he mumbled.
“You’re welcome,” she said unemotionally and walked away.
“Well, it’s nice that she did that,” he muttered, examining the card in the same way that he might inspect a weird relic that he had inexplicably found in the back yard, “but you know, I don’t know about the way they mixed Marvel and DC characters in this…”
It was the biggest overt display of affection I had seen between those two since… I could remember! Whatever happened to the small, cuddly kids who used to hug and hold hands? They were so cute back then!
I guess it all started to go sideways when Yousef’s voice began to change. I don’t think Dahlia has ever forgiven him for turning into a teenager. But then, when she got her first training bra, it was his turn to feel disgusted. I don’t think he has forgiven her for having the nerve to start growing up either.
I guess this will all eventually work itself out again, and someday they may even be willing to sit on the same sofa in the same room together. Maybe a day will come when there won’t be an epic battle over the last remaining donut in the house. (I can dream, can’t I?) And maybe, just maybe there will be a day when they might even hug each other!