Why Bother To Make Friends With Siblings?

Why Bother Making Friends With Siblings?

You don’t get to select the family you are born into, nor do you get to decide whether or not to be an only child, to have brothers or sisters or to have both. I have three brothers and three sisters and it wasn’t easy for me to get along with so many different personalities. Sometimes I dreamt of being an only child. In my imagination I had my own bedroom, undivided care from parents and a tidy, quiet home. 

I never did get any sympathy from Mom whenever I whined about the sister who always left a mess on her side of the bedroom, or about the one who yelled whenever she was left to babysit us. Instead, I got words of wisdom.  She told me that if I could not get along with my siblings, I’d have an especially hard time getting along with anybody else. “Learning to get along with people starts at home,” she emphasized. I did not believe her words right away. Surely, there were nicer and more normal people out in the world than the ones I lived with.      

Various Personalities 

I got along well enough with my siblings to survive my childhood. Eventually we all grew up and left home. Some of us, because of our geographical closeness, stayed in touch. An occasional phone call or letter in the mail brought me up to date on life’s current events with the others who lived farther away. We all stayed connected, though loosely. 

Recently, I have come to deeply appreciate my siblings, and take more time to spend time with them whether talking on the phone, meeting for lunch or taking a bike ride. 

Even though we originated from the same set of parents, the personalities represented by my siblings vary.  Some are industrious, responsible and reliable. Not only do they set goals, they set a date to accomplish those goals. Others are empathetic, affectionate and trusting. They are the ones who listen well and sometimes give unsolicited advice. Then there are some who worry, are easily irritated and wrestle with depression. The extroverts of the family are curious and creative and seem to act less practical than some of the more self-controlled ones. When I get together with them, I never know what might happen. In short, none of us are the same, though we do have similarities. We are all polite and respectful. 

Growing up around so many different personalities, I could only observe and notice them. Now years later, I value them.

Mom was right. Getting along with people does start with those in your home. It just took a while for her words to become my truth.  

Why bother making friends with siblings? It is worth it to make friends with the ones with whom we share the same history. Our personalities may be very different, but those differences can eventually be admired.

Why Bother With Womanhood

                                Why Bother with Womanhood?

 

For the longest time I wanted to be just like my older brother, Bruce. From my perspective, it looked like boys had more fun and freedom than girls. They whooped, hollered, and wrestled without a scolding because they were just being boys. Jealous, I did my best to be like them. 

 I grew up in a neighborhood with wide quiet streets, big houses and lots of other Catholic families like ours. And when I tagged along with Bruce, and his gang of friends, no one made any stinky comments about how I happened to be the only girl among them. 

As long as I didn’t cry when I got hurt, kept up with the others on my bike, and ran faster than the slowest runner, a boy named Steve, I was mostly like them. But the real test came the day Bruce tied a pair of old boxing gloves onto my skinny little hands and pointed me toward the circle of boys in our dusty alley.  

“Just punch him in the gut,” Bruce said into my ear as he gave me a little shove into the ring.  

In the center stood my opponent, a chubby lad about my height. His arms dangled at his sides, his belly, my target, slightly exposed. Fearful, but not about to back away, I stepped toward him. Without waiting for him to put up his “dukes,” I slammed my gloved fist into his gut. He doubled over, I reveled in my victory and my brother’s happiness. He’d won the bet and collected his quarters. 

But the days of pretending to be something I wasn’t ended when my menses started. I grieved. My short hair, flat chest and less than gentle demeanor did nothing to change the fact; I was a girl. Now, what was I to do? Girlhood felt awkward and incompatible with who I thought I was. 

I didn’t want to be like my sisters who fussed with their hair and flirted with boys and I knew I couldn’t be like the gorgeous models in Seventeen Magazine. Watching women burn their bras on television did nothing for me either. I didn’t have one to burn.

No one ever told me that maturing into my own skin took time, but I took my time anyway and watched my grandmother.  She unconsciously modeled decisiveness and gentleness, fairness and empathy, and enduring strength coupled with a sense of humor. 

I’ve found my way into womanhood and I am glad I did. I would have missed out on too many things if I’d thought of myself as a boy. 

Why bother with womanhood? It’s never too late to grow into who you were created to be in the first place.