I was having a conversation with a colleague the other day. We were discussing siblings and I was shocked at how she talked about hers. In short, she hates them. Never speaks to them if she can help it, and can’t remember the last time they were all together apart from at her mother’s funeral. And even THEN, she claims, they stayed as far away from each other as was physically possible.
Now, I know you can’t choose your family. Fortunately or unfortunately, we have to deal with the cards we have been dealt. I’ve had my fair share of strange and annoying family members, my own siblings included. Much as I love them to pieces.
I remember there was a time in my childhood when my older sister had hidden some of my toys just to piss me off and I wished that I could exchange her for another, nicer sister. Or the time my brother was born and promptly stole my position on the throne as baby of the family. Or the time I ‘ran away’- (ok, I climbed a tree at the bottom of the garden and pretended I was running away. I even took the time to pack a sandwich and an apple in a rucksack. Needless to say, I only stayed in the tree for about 40 minutes before I got tired and hungry, seeing as I’d eaten all my supplies within 5 minutes of being in said tree. But that’s a story for another time) in protest because my sisters were allowed to go to the cinema but I wasn’t. Did I care that the movie was rated 15? Or that my Dad promised to take me for ice cream as compensation? Or that I’d probably have been bored-stiff in the cinema, seeing as I was to grow to hate chick flicks? No I didn’t. And of course it was all my sisters’ fault and God was just unfair in not giving me better siblings.
Much as my siblings and I fought quite a bit, we were also very close. We had to be. With all the travelling our family did, upping sticks and settling in at a new school was a regular occurrence. Who else will have your back, no questions asked? Your siblings, of course. Not only that, but if the parents ever dragged us along to a mind-numbingly boring event, my siblings and I always had each other for company.
Did I mention the added perks I enjoy, having two older sisters and a younger brother? First of all, access to clothes and jewellery. Those they’ll let me borrow anyway. My brother is my housemate so I never have to worry about that hard-to-reach light-bulb, or ruining my manicure trying to open a jar of pickles.
Of course things have improved as we’ve gotten older- we’re even closer than we were when we were kids. I can happily hang out with my siblings for hours and have an absolute blast- they are easily three of the funniest people I know. I am guaranteed a laugh and possibly an argument whenever we get together. Thankfully, unlike my colleague, that happens to be quite often.
So embrace your siblings, warts and all*. They’re the people who know the best and the worst of you. And love you regardless. Because, after all, they have to.
*I’d like to state for the record that none of my siblings have warts. I was speaking figuratively.