My partner went back home Saturday to see his sister and nephew before they leave for the summer. They are the type who text all the time, and talk on the phone often. It really got me thinking about siblings. Two of the teenagers who work with me are step-sisters, and close, but also argue a bunch as siblings do. You know they love each other and it’s nice to see that siblings brought together by marriage are so close. I have two brothers, one is older and the other is younger, and I couldn’t tell you much about them.
Sibling relationships are like any other relationship, they take work and if you let them fall between the cracks, there’s no resurrecting it. I know adults who never speak to siblings because of an argument 30 years ago. I know others who talk but only do so because they are socially obligated to, but are not fond of each other.
If neither person reaches out, it’s just a static between them. It seems so easy to just lose touch with people you went to school with, or worked with, but siblings are supposed to be this blood bond that never fades because you have each other’s back, no matter what. Even my parents talk to their siblings frequently, and it’s great to see that distance and time hasn’t stopped their communication.
I’m not saying that my brothers and I never speak, it’s more that, we rarely do. My older brother lives in a Carolina, can’t remember which one, North probably. The younger one is abroad in Prague for the semester, but goes to college here in Madison, and I only see him when he needs to do laundry. That being said, I literally talk more to the one across the country than the one who’s house I park by occasionally when I go downtown. I would consider our relationship as of today, that of acquaintances, rather than siblings.
My younger brother, Shahan and I were inseparable as children, we did everything together and hated my older brother (the nude one in the background). We used to read Pokemon books, collect rocks, play basketball, and do pretty much everything together. At one time we even shared the same bedroom, because I watched IT and was so traumatized I refused to sleep alone. As we got older we drifted apart, he wanted to play with his friends and became rather closed off from me, which is understandable, since I was just his sister. Since then we’ve maybe had a few conversations, the longest being in the car when my mom and I dropped him off at the airport for his semester abroad. I respect Shahan, and I love him, he’s an impressive human being. He was done so many cool things like burning Scott Walker in a Q&A session, and hanging with the lead singer of Disturbed. You know his life will be filled with more stories like these. He is charming and hilarious and makes every person want to be his friend. If you’re ever lucky enough to meet him, you’ll be smitten immediately.
My older brother and I were the opposite. I really hated him when I was younger. He used to always be in the way and was kind of a jerk. As I got older though, I started to became closer with him. We started watching shows together, like Naruto and Bleach, when they were only available on YouTube in super low quality. We listened to the same music and found new artists for each other, a trend that continues today. He even drove to pick me up in La Crosse while in college, and we drove to Milwaukee to see a concert together. Then he got a girlfriend, and his trips home revolved around showing her around and spending time with her. Which is great, she’s wonderful and it’s strange to see him with someone after all these years, but it takes away from the bonding time we used to have. I miss just sitting around and talking about shows, music, and the stupid shit our parents say. He is about to graduate with his Master’s, which is amazing, and I’m so proud. He’s the smartest and most genuine person you’ll ever meet. He works harder than anyone I know, and will have his PhD soon and it’s crazy to remember him building sandcastles with me. You know you’ve won him over when you get him to laugh so hard he snorts. He may come off as cold, but when you get to know him, you’ll love him too.
I don’t know why, but I feel like if I don’t make the effort now, I’ll lose that closeness other siblings have. I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do? Message them more, call them on occasion? They’re busy, and I just assume it would be bothersome. It seems sad that a relationship I shared for my whole childhood has been reduced to a few texts here and there, and possibly a holiday or two together. Growing up and becoming adults with your own lives, partners, families, pets, and so on, makes it difficult to feel close to anyone. So I’d like to take this moment to pledge to try to be more communicative with my brothers again. They may not appreciate it, but they’re the only family I have who will always laugh when my dad mispronounces English words, or when my mom tells an especially inappropriate joke.
If you’re close with your siblings, I really want to know how you do it. What do you do specifically that if I asked you about their lives, you’d be able to tell me anything. If you’re not close and want to be, join me in sending rather annoying texts and calls to them. Families are wonderful and terrible and what have we all got to lose? So yeah, here’s to siblings, right? The only people who have suffered through the same parents as you.