Sometimes healing comes in the most unexpected ways. In a new essay she penned for International Women’s Day, Angelina Jolie reveals two of her daughters recently underwent surgeries — and that, in the aftermath, it was watching the way Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 13, and little sis Vivienne, 11, cared for each other that ultimately helped the family get through this tough stretch.
Jolie got vulnerable about her family’s recent stints in the hospital in an op-ed for Time magazine. “I have spent the last two months in and out of surgeries with my eldest daughter, and days ago watched her younger sister go under the knife for a hip surgery,” she shared, noting that she’d gotten the go-ahead from Zahara and Shiloh to tell their story. “They understand that going through medical challenges and fighting to survive and heal is something to be proud of.”
She went on to reveal just how inherently her girls cared for each other. “I have watched my daughters care for one another,” she said. “My youngest daughter studied the nurses with her sister, and then assisted the next time. I saw how all my girls so easily stopped everything and put each other first, and felt the joy of being of service to those they love.”
This isn’t to say Jolie’s sons — Maddox, 18, Pax, 16, and Knox, 11 — weren’t there for their sisters as they recovered. She said the boys were “supportive and sweet.” But it was the girls who moved the family forward into healing. It was an important lesson for Jolie in more than one way.
As a mom, it’s hard to watch your children go through something difficult or painful. And if you have more than one child, you wind up wrapped up in your feelings for the child enduring the difficulty and stressed over how it might affect their siblings. But the fact that Jolie’s daughters handled the family’s medical issues so beautifully served as an important reminder of the “resolute bravery” and resiliency of children.
It probably also resonated with Jolie on a deeply personal level. There’s not much more a mom can ask for than to watch her kids, without provocation, act so selflessly and out of so much love for their siblings. When you deal with so many days spent acting like a referee, it’s nice to get the occasional “you’re doing a good job, Mama” vibe from the universe.
Here’s hoping all of the Jolie-Pitt women find themselves on the mend soon.
Before you go, click here to learn more about other huge Hollywood families.