Ask me who I am and inevitably the conversation quickly turns to my three siblings. The people they have become, and the person I am becoming, are thoroughly intertwined, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
I realize that not everyone beams about their siblings the way I do. I see myself in my mind’s eye stacked in order of our birth. I am the 2nd child, the oldest girl. As we have aged, however, we have become equals, and the best of friends.
This year our Thanksgiving brought us all together in one city, in one home, around one table, and my sister and I were blessed to cook for and host the feast. This was a special occasion, as in years past we have been scattered about the country or the world, and in this day and age it is amazing we are all centrally located. Moving “home” with my children earlier this year was in large part due to my desire to be close to these amazing people I am honored to be related to.
What I know is I never feel so whole as when I am surrounded by my siblings. When we are together the energy of our togetherness alone propels us. When we laugh, it is with years of common history, the chorus of laughter echoing behind us. No one else can understand the intimate threads of my past as they can, and only rarely is that a bad thing. Perhaps it is because the common tribulations we have endured brought us closer rather than tore us apart, as it may have other families. Perhaps it is that we can make each other laugh so hard that we cry. And we’ve had exciting adventures to round it all out.
Certain memories of each of them stand out in my mind as solid metaphors for who they are, and how I love them. I have written poems for each of them, and songs, and they are my lifetime muses.
When we were young, my older brother was my complete idol. I worshiped him as much as he dismissed me. Anything he did, I wanted to do. I remember laying on the floor outside his bedroom, listening to him play the violin, year after year. He and the sound of the violin are one in my memmory. The beautiful music of my big brother.
My younger sister is like my heart outside of my body, walking in the world. We possess an understanding of each other that no outside relationship could ever rival. Attending the same college, we were roommates, and now in our 30′s we are roommates once again. Whether cooking the Thanksgiving meal, watching reruns of Sex in the City, or visiting our father, together we flow smoothly. Still today my image of my sister as a child remains how she found her own happiness in every moment, no matter what was going on around her, her world was filled with beauty, and she still lives this way today making people’s special life moments perfect.
My youngest sibling, my little brother, is a hulking gentle giant whose hyperactive affection and infectious enthusiasm will make him live on forever as his 7-yr old self in my mind. He was everywhere as a child, neverending energy, and his sweetness and literal love for sugar are the cornerstones of my memories of him. He now spreads that sweetness and enthusiasm all over the world through his work.
A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity, the only person with the keys to one’s unfettered, more fundamental self. ~Marian Sandmaier
I feel blessed to have my brothers and sister as a part of my life, and the closeness we share is such a gift I will never take for granted, for all this I am so grateful.
Do you have a sibling story to share?