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2/20/11

Sibling Rivalry

I enjoy watching the show Brothers and Sisters, but think it should be classified as fantasy, as it is most likely the figment of some writer's imagination.
A writer who perhaps did not have the bickering, loving, fierce family portrayed on the show.
I don't know anyone who does. Do you?

This evening as we eight wine tasters basked in the alcohol induced glow, we got on the topic of siblings. One of the members was adopted (and an only child) and she said she used to wonder once upon a ...well, you know... if there were any siblings out there, but had concluded based on friends comments that perhaps they were over rated. (She did however have two children.)

To prove the point, we went around the table and divulged our relationships with our siblings, if we had any (siblings that is). Several of us had a five year gap between us and the next child. (My mother had a fifteen year gap, my father, thirteen).
In birth order land - this equals two first-borns and does not often bode well for the relationship.

Only one of us said definitively that her sibling was her closest friend. Others said they had spent years purposely avoiding any contact with theirs. (I sometimes wonder if this is what my sister would say)

I often go months, even years without speaking to mine. Not because I don't like them. I do. I promise.
We have fun when we see each other, they can make me laugh like no one else, (except maybe Anon CP, but in her case we may be related in some Southern way), and if anyone else says anything negative about them, I feel a powerful strong urge to kick that person's arse.
But we have our own lives, our own families and friends. Not to mention one of them lives in Alaska, and the other in that state that is suddenly just like Egypt...you know, Wisconsin.

In my family's case I don't know if this distance can be contributed to our nomadic lifestyle growing up - we became accustomed to leaving family and friends behind. Perhaps we would have drifted apart anyway. No way of knowing.

Sometimes I have cousin envy. They live in Florida, knowing everyone and everyone's children and grandchildren, while I'm the one at family reunions asking small children "Who do you belong to again?"
On the other hand I thought a former colleague who only did things with family members was...in my judgmental way...plain weird. Maybe I was a little bit jealous. Whatever.

I only had one child, in part due to choice and in part due to that's where the cards fell. He did not seem to mind being an only child. He had plenty of playmates and friends. Only once, in second grade, did he ask for "a five year old red-headed sister named Mary"...I replied that I couldn't help, unless Mary's parents were willing to give her up. (Ah sarcasm, so often wasted on the young.)

It was also noted last night that with a large age gap, it's like having a different set of parents. My sister thought I got to do everything. I thought she was a lunatic and marveled at the amount of freedom she and my brother had.
The firstborn gets all the rules and the micro managing - parents are trying so hard to do it right. The ones following after often get a more relaxed parental mind set. (But do they appreciate it?! Nooooooo.)

Maybe, like leaving the nest, finding your own relationships, not just the ones you were born into, is part of growing up.
As the saying goes - friends are the family you get to choose yourself.

2 comments:

  1. So glad we chose each other to be sisters. Though I never experienced sibling rivalry like I did when I met you! Geeze!

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  2. Been catching up on your posts.... Love the green in that living room and it *is* nice to think of other colors rather than beige as a neutral. And you're so right about the birth order thing--I'm a first-born, too, and was micro-managed like crazy. sigh. :) Thanks so much for the film recommendations yesterday and for all your other comments, too! I'll let you know if I watch what you recommended. (If I forget, though, please forgive my sorry, sorry memory...) Thanks again! Debra

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