Why Bother Staying Connected to Siblings?

Why Bother Staying Connected to Siblings?

Mom birthed seven children in thirteen years. I was the sixth born child in my family, the youngest of the girls. I’ve not always been close to my siblings, but they have been a constant in my life. It has only been in the last few years or so that I’ve grown up enough or matured in such a way as to really value what I’ve had all along, my sibs. 

   Oh, the Things We Share with Our Siblings 

I would like to ask you this, who else but a sibling can give us insights into the dynamics of the family we were born into? 

Once, when the third born child, also the second oldest sister, and I were having an adult conversation about our childhood, she told me, “You know, you were born into a chaotic household.” 

This one little statement shed a beacon of light into my life. It makes so much more sense to me now as to why I am diligent to keep my life in order. I like a clean house, and an organized workspace. I don’t like crowded, closed in, noisy places and instead prefer the quiet wide-open spaces of nature. 

Her little statement relieved me of the load of fear that I used to carry. I always thought I might be an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist. But I’m not. I’m just a normal individual who is recovering from growing up in a chaotic household. 

Another interesting concept about siblings is that who else except for them shared our childhood as children themselves? It is with our siblings we grow up with and then maybe, if we live long enough, grow old with, too. 

When my offspring or grand offspring flip the pages of photo albums, they see pictures of their favorite uncle with hair. That is an anomaly to them since they’ve only seen him as a mostly balding man. But I, on the other hand, lived through the days of his hippie hood when he kept his thick dark hair tied in a ponytail. I am lucky to be a living witness to his hairier days and to also still be alive to see him in his balding days. 

No one except for our siblings share similar character and physical traits, voice inflections and even the unique sound of our laughter. I’ve been told more than once that my voice sounds just like that of the second born sister and that I look like my second born brother. It is interesting to be compared to my balding brother when I still have lots of hair. 

Finally, who else besides our sibs can remember the trivialities concerning the different houses we lived in, the bedrooms we shared, the vacations we took, the grandparents we had or the major calamities that happened during childhood. No one but them.

So why do I bother staying connected to my brothers and sisters? It is so I can be reminded of who I once was and be validated for who I’ve become.

Why Bother Being Grateful For Brothers?

Why Bother Being Grateful for Brothers?

I have three sisters, and three brothers for whom I am grateful for, but I identify best with the brother who is only eighteen months older than I. Growing up, I was too young to see the value of Dippity Dew, rollers in my hair, or makeup, as did my older sisters. Instead, I benefited  more from my brother’s world. 

Alongside my Brother

 Bruce and his friends congregated in our backyard on summer evenings and picked teams for kickball, and soft ball. Too young and shy at first to play the games, I’d watch my brother’s gang while sitting on the edge of our sandbox. The boys played seriously with lots of yelling and at times, hand to hand combat to settle conflicts. Compared to my sisters, they were a brazen bunch. 

When we moved from Nebraska to South Dakota, I was older and bolder, and ready to compete. I’d follow my brother and the other boys on my purple stingray bike, fly over jumps made out of  plywood and compete in races down the middle of the street. The front yard across the street from our house served as our football field. We’d stuff red kerchiefs into our back pockets for a game of flag football that always turned into tackle. The first time I got the wind knocked out of me, and tasted blood, grass and dirt in my mouth, Bruce helped me to my feet and brushed me off. 

Like puddy in his hands, I trusted him even when he tied boxing gloves onto my skinny little hands and pointed me toward a circle made by the boys in our dusty alley. 

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

My opponent, a boy about my height, and chubby, stood with his arms dangling by his sides. My target, his belly, was covered by a tight fitting blue t-shirt. Fearful, but not about to back away, I stepped toward him. I didn’t wait for him to put up his “dukes.” I just slammed my gloved fist into his gut. He doubled over and fell to the ground. I reveled in my victory and my brother’s happiness. He won the bet and collected his quarters. 

We moved again, this time to Colorado. The houses in our new neighborhood stood few and far between. No other kids to pal around with, my brother and I became our own entity. I followed him on game trails through thick woods heavy with the smell of pine, and along sandy banks of a fast flowing river. We never talked much. We’d just tromp side by side and that was enough for me. 

As teenagers, and then again as young adults, our paths veered off. He went to trade school, married and became a dad. I went to college, pursued a career and met Jesus. My brother had no interest in hearing about my new faith, and instead, kept his distance, referring to me as a “Bible Thumper.”  But I took no offense because he was my brother and we had a good history.

Then his wife left him and filed for divorce. His world fell apart. He moved into an old shack in the middle of cow pasture and lived alone in his sadness until one Christmas Eve.

 He told me the story later, how he’d wrestled with God and how God won. I was elated. He went off to Bible college, and became a pastor. Now he’s a “Bible Thumper” with a contagious passion, zeal and authenticity that is contagious among the people in his church community.  

Why bother being grateful for brothers? Brothers are worth being grateful for especially when you can tromp beside them along the road of faith.