The Value of Siblings

Professional photograph of a person/group from...

Professional photograph of a person/group from around the turn of the 19th/20th century: siblings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night my kids matched their wits in a geography contest while sitting together at the computer. Yes, I literally mean sitting together. My daughter was in the swivel chair with my son in her lap- mind you they are both teenagers. They had their arms around each other and were hugging and congratulating each other when they answered correctly. I knew I would ruin the moment by taking a photo, so I pretended I was a fly on the wall and silently watched them from across the room. I couldn’t help but smile at their innocent display of affection and respect for each other. It seemed like a perfect moment, something indicative of the years they will still be looking out for each other when that is no longer my role.

Every parent wants their children to be friends but it doesn’t always work out that way. The connection to family has to start early and you have to be able to accept your differences and embrace each other for who they are. I grew up with 2 sisters. We are very close in age and we experienced the usual sibling rivalry along the way. The one thing we always knew, though, was that we had each other’s backs whenever their was a problem. While we would be the first one to give a critical assessment of each other’s hair styles or fashion apparel, we would immediately jump  to each other’s defense against bullies or ex-boyfriends. Today we still call on each other for emotional support with our children or jobs. We know we can always expect love and objective thinking to carry us through.  I am thankful that my sisters and I have each other to share concerns about our parents. While they are both still healthy and strong, one day they will need our help and we will take it on together.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the same unconditional support network of siblings that I do. One of my friends is an only child and had to deal with the illness and death of her mother, while still balancing her own health issues and having time for her grandchildren. I don’t know how she did it. I tried to provide emotional support as a friend, but I know it’s not the same.

In the last 2 years, my husband has lost his older brother and his father. In some ways, this has drawn him and his younger brother closer together. I think they have a greater appreciation for each other and are in closer communication than they had been previously. I know they have given each other emotional support and they have shared the responsibilities of aiding their mother with her transitions. They have been able to share old memories which, for all my love and support,  I could not have fully understood.

It is very satisfying to see that my own children appreciate each other and have developed a strong bond in spite of their gender difference. Inspired by Whoonu,

Cranium Whoonu

a family game where we draw cards to match a person’s favorite or least favorite things, my kids enjoy challenging each other to name their favorite color, musician, perspective careers and ideal vacations. They seem to know each other inside and out and have an intuitive sense of what the other one is thinking. When they get their heads together, they can easily trick their relatives into believing anything or convince them to do what they want. They make a formidable team of siblings with a great sense of humor. It is nice to know that as they mature, they will already know how to take on more challenging issues together with love and understanding.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol
    Apr 04, 2012 @ 10:34:03

    One of the greatest blessings of my life is the relationship between my son and my daughter. They are each other’s best friends, and I wallow in the good feelings that gives me.

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  2. themiddlegeneration
    Apr 04, 2012 @ 20:00:23

    Is your son older or younger than your daughter? It does make an interesting difference. Usually the older girl mothers the new baby, while the boy doesn’t hold the same responsibilty until he reaches manhood. I think it is an interesting gender puzzle…

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