Reflections on National Sibling Day
Note: This post was written a while ago, but never published, taking the opportunity to do so today, in honor of National Sibling Day!
Siblings are a great deal of things. In the beginning, it doesn’t look like getting a sibling is a great deal… chances are, you weren’t fond of them when they came into the picture. (I remember seeing my brother for the first time… “Qué es eso?”= What is that?) As if sharing your parents wasn’t enough, you had to share your toys too. Not only that, some of them had big mouths. They may have tattled on you when growing up. It is very possible that you were mean to your sibling, (not going to lie… I know I was!) Then, somewhere in adulthood, (or, motherhood in my case) you realize how awesome having siblings can be.
It all started with an article I read in the New York Times, “The Gift of Siblings” where Frank Bruni got me thinking about what we don’t always realize: that our siblings are the only people that will be with us throughout our lives, even more so than parents, spouses or children. (Our parents die, our spouses and children come into the picture much later in life.) An amazing blogger, Vanessa Bell, kept the wheels turning on this topic, through her amazing project #365siblings where she photographs her children every day and shares these beautiful pictures with her readers on De Su Mama. When I thanked Vanessa for creating this project and we talked about having an only child versus having more children, she said, “After seeing my father bury his parents alone, I couldn’t imagine doing that to my daughter.”
Her words were powerful, and it reminded me of the importance my brother has in my life, even though growing up we fought a lot! But I do think bonds that siblings share are powerful, regardless of whether you are close growing up or not. Growing up, my little brother got on my nerves, tattled on me, and I remember saying that we found him in the garbage can and also that they left him on our doorstep.** I also remember crying when we thought we lost him!
Siblings are the only people that will truly understand what your parents are like. They will probably understand you too… after all; they have known you for so long. Sure siblings can be annoying sometimes, BUT they will probably always have your back. There’s no need to pretend with your siblings, chances are, they have seen you in your worst state. They may have tattled on you, but they can also be your biggest cheerleaders. You may be different, but you share a common heritage, common upbringing, in most cases, you’ve shared a womb!
Sibling relationships can be complicated, complex, multifaceted… like roller coasters, they will go up and down… but aren’t all relationships like that? Being a sibling is almost like being a parent, it is one of those things in life that you can never turn off… because as much as my brother may annoy me, I will always be his sister, and I will always have his back. Being a sibling is much like being a parent, if you aren’t one, then you will never fully grasp it. The beauty of having a sibling is that a much as that relationship can be complex, it remains constant, because friends can come and go, but siblings are forever. The key is to learn that early so you make the most of that special relationship.
**Note to my little brother: I am profusely, incredibly, ridiculously sorry I was so mean… but you were probably doing something equally not nice that made me say that!)