Siblings are both a blessing and a curse. As the youngest of three children, I cannot help but wonder what life would have been like without siblings. Part of me thinks that life would have been pretty fantastic. I would not have been beat-up nearly as much. I would have had things go my way more times than naught. I would not have had to contend for time doing the many things that we used to do to occupy our time. However, as much as I used to consider this as a child, the reality is that I would not be who I am today without siblings.
I have two older brothers. One is five years my senior, the other, three years older. Being the only girl with two older brothers had its positives and negatives. Although, I would often play off of the negatives as a child (for pity and attention of course), there were many positives. My brothers and I were each others allies with our parents, neighborhood children, and schoolmates. We looked out for each other, played with each other, and of course, fought with each other (a lot!).
Childhood memories would not be complete without my siblings. In fact, I would probably only vaguely remember parts of my childhood if it weren’t for my brothers. Part of the magic of having siblings is the conjoint ability to remember certain things about childhood. Also, it is amazing to be able to do things together as children and play off of those memories for the rest of your life.
To this very day, my eldest brother tells a story (whenever he possibly can) about a time when the three of us used to watch old kung fu movies. While watching one specific movie that I cannot remember the name to, a ninja star was brought out on the screen and the three of us sat in fascination of it. After watching this star fly across the screen a few times, my oldest brother decided he would try his craftsmanship in making one. Not too long after he began twisting a piece of metal, he was finished. He had created his very own ninja star. We looked upon it in awe.
After moving me out of the room (but in a place where I could still see to avoid the ‘little sister’ from getting hit) and placing my other brother behind himself and to the right a little, my oldest brother took aim at a closet door. Flicking his wrist, he let the star go. But, instead of making forward motion like we all thought it would, the flick of the wrist caused the star to go backwards and to the right. It hit my other brother square in the forehead. He screamed and my father heard. My father poked his head into the door of the room where we all sat and yelled, ‘What’s going on in there?’ Without flinching, the three of us replied, in unison, ‘Nothing.’
However, something had happened. My brother had just been impaled with a ninja star. We quickly pulled it out and put a pillow over his head to stop the bleeding. After the situation had calmed down we disposed of the ninja star and hid the pillow from our parents for many years. In fact, it was only a few years ago that we revealed the story to our parents who were shocked to find out the great cover-up that we had staged.
Siblings are amazing. Finding trouble is not a difficult task when you are with them, but neither is making (and keeping) memories. Siblings, however, can also cause heartache. It is difficult to watch a sibling that you love so dearly go through a difficult time in his or her own life. But it is also an incredible thing to be able to be there for a sibling in their time of need. It is all the more incredible to be able to celebrate the joys in the lives of your siblings: graduations, weddings, and the birth of children are joyous times in the life of the family that brings you closer together.
Highs and lows are inevitable, however, I cannot imagine the pain of the loss of a sibling which is one major reason that it is vital to enjoy the time that you are together with them while you can. Brothers and sisters are a part of us. If you allow them to continue to be a part of your life, they can be an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and a conscience that knows you almost as well as you know yourself.
The Sibling Project, a study initiated by the Association for Children with a Disability, noted the importance of siblings’ interaction with each other through the developing years. Two points made in the study that may seem somewhat obvious, but have important results, are that ‘the sibling relationship’ will usually be longer than any other relationship within the family’ and ‘a child’s self identity is shaped by their daily interaction with their siblings.’
It is true that fights may be unavoidable and hurtful words can be exchanged, however, siblings are a joy and a blessing. They will be there throughout your life in one way or another, so making the best of the relationship is key. Just like those times as children when siblings worked as your allies, throughout adulthood siblings can still have that same impact. They are usually the most likely people to rejoice when you rejoice and feel your pain when you are at your lowest.
The connection between siblings is so important. You are bonded for life because of the fact that you share the same parents, but creating a fulfilling relationship with your siblings is more of a blessing than many of the friendships that you will ever know.