Summer is a great time for family members to be together. But it can also be a stressful time if siblings begin to feel like they are joined at the hip. I recall many long summer days stuck at home with my brother and sister. It seemed to me like summer would never end.
The Handy Helpers are not immune to sibling strife. Amber has an older brother who is kind and loving but can often be overbearing. Naturally, as a big brother he is required to tease his little sister. Because Amber has attention deficit disorder, she gives him plenty of opportunities. But Kyle can also be bossy and often takes on the role of a third parent. This is helpful at times, but is frustrating for Amber who is struggling hard to learn to stand on her own two feet. Their relationship reminds me of my own two children.
Chris has an older brother, Eric. Because they lost their father when they were small, the two boys are very close and depend on each other. Eric is a serious young man who wants to become a minister some day. Chris is much more laid back and easy going. Both boys take a protective stance when it comes to their baby brother, Tyler.
Like Jan Brady, Laura is the often-overlooked middle child. Standing in the shadow of her older sister, Amanda, she has to wait her turn to do grown-up things like go on dates or learn to drive. While her two younger sisters are still playing dress-up and having tea parties, Laura has her own interests such as cooking. Their mother owns a dance studio and Laura’s three sisters are training in ballet. Laura enjoys gymnastics which her mother also teaches. To distinguish herself further from her sisters, she cut her long, straight hair and often wears a baseball cap.
Spike has two older sisters who are in high school. This was the situation in my home, growing up. My brother is nine years younger than I and I often thought of him as a total pain. Like Spike, he was prone to pull stunts–most of them intended to get me in trouble–which usually backfired on him.
Logan and Beth Anne are both only children. To the other Handy Helpers, this might seem like an envious position at times. But I’m sure there are times when Logan and Beth Anne feel lonely and wish they had siblings to do things with. Anyway, the situation is going to change for both of them. In Logan’s case it will happen in an unexpected way.
Melissa and her very determined younger sister, Trisha, have the most contentious relationship. Trisha tries to insinuate herself into whatever Melissa has going on. This annoys Melissa who is always telling Trisha to get lost. In addition, Trisha tries to be the perfect child–something Melissa has no interest in being. This excerpt from A Rocky Start is an example of how their relationship plays out.
“How’s school?” Laura asked Trisha while they were eating their lunches.
“I’m the best reader in the first grade,” Trisha announced proudly. “My teacher is Mrs. Bell. She always asks me to read out loud in class. I get good grades on my report card.”
“She’s a real whiz kid,” Melissa said, somewhat sarcastically.
“She does her homework right away when she gets home from school,” said Mrs. Oates, who shot an accusing look at Melissa.
“I do my homework,” Melissa defended herself. “I might not get it done until ten o’clock, but I do it.”
Amber was thinking that maybe having a perfect little sister wasn’t any better than having a perfect big brother.
The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon