We can do it

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Circle the Wagons

I've been contemplating lately about the relationship between siblings. It is fascinating watching my kids go from screaming, hitting, fighting one another to snuggling up on the couch and so politely sharing popcorn in a matter of minutes. I will see Savannah shove Vincent out of her room saying, "You can't play in here" to shoving a big kid on the playground saying "Leave my brother alone!". What is it about the brother/sister relationship that makes it so volatile?
My brothers and I are pretty close. We love each other and actually want to spend time with one another. Of course when we were kids we all fought. I guess you do fight most heatedly with the ones you love the most. But here we are, adults and still have a very strong bond with one another. How do you generate that?
We may not always agree, we may be very different people, but when push comes to shove I KNOW my brothers are there. We have a family motto when one of us is hurting. "Circle the wagons" It means that the rest of the family will gather around and protect the one that is hurt. When my nephew, Alex was in the hospital with life threatening jaundice, we all marched down to the hospital with blankets and pillows and surrounded Robby and Stacy and slept there until we knew the baby was fine. Circle the wagons.
It seems like so many people I know don't get along with or appreciate their siblings. What causes that? I want to raise my kids to always love each other and respect each other and to actually be friends.
I want Savannah to be 30 years old and still telling people "Don't mess with my brother."
So I'll pose some questions. Do you get along with your siblings? Do you spend time with them? If not, why? Sometimes it may be too deep of a reason to share and I can understand that. My sister in law Tiffany had a terrible brother growing up and it is good that she doesn't have a relationship with him. So we just count her as one of ours.
Anyway, this tempermental relationship of siblings is fascinating to me and I'd like to know how it all worked out for all of you. Good or bad, what do you think contributed to the relationship you have with your brothers or sisters?


Christina_the_wench said...

My brother is 17 months younger than me. My sister is 11 years younger than me. I live a half hour from my brother. I live 2 hours from my sister.

I see my sister more than my brother. He has a "I am better than the rest of the family" tude that I don't deal with.
My sister is my best friend though, even given the age difference. Weird, huh?

Mimi said...

I have a half brother through my fathers 1st marriage. there is 7 years between us.We never really met until I wrote him a letter when I was 19. He took me to dinner and we had agreat day like something off a Lifetime movie. H esai dhe was so glad that we now had each other. But after that he would not respond to my calls or letters. I really wish I had a sibling to love and fight with. I really want Binker to have one. But Durk the middle boy of two girls says having a sibling is not all it is cracked up to be. But I disagree.

Gingers Mom said...

Oh, I think having siblings is precious. They are the only people who really know you your ENTIRE life. I love having a big family. It makes holidays so much fun. I don't have a sister but my brothers are the best of friends. I hope it will be the same for my boys.

Ms.L said...

I don't "get along" with my sister but I sure appreciated her.
We're not in each other's lives because I got sick and tired of always being the bigger person and doing what she wanted to do.
I didn't realize of course that all I was doing was training her and allowing her to continue treating me like a second class citizen. It all came to a head when she couldn't even be bothered to drive an hour to see me. I was in a place in my life where I just couldn't put up with people who didn't appreciate me or love me the way I needed and deserved and when I tried to talk to her about it,she blew me off and ended the relationship instead of giving in.

I think you've got a great thing going and I wish I did as well.
That is part of the reason why I'm teaching my kids to love and appreciate each other:)
Family comes first.
We weren't taught that in mine.

candy said...

I have three brothers. I love each and everyone of them differently. My older brother lets us crash at his house whenever we go up to visit my family I moved four hours away. My middle brother and I never liked each other growing up but now that we both have kids we love to get together and hang out and reminise about growing up. The baby of the family just had his first baby 4 months ago. It is amazing to see him with my nephew. I never imagined him grown up and I think it has taken me till now (he is 25) to believe that he is a grown up. Being the only girl in the family I think I feel closer as we get older. I hope my kids have the same experience. Most of the time they fight but sometimes they actually get along.

beadinggalinMS said...

My twin and I are very close even though we live so far apart. It was not always like this but that was in the past. We also have a younger brother that I wish I was closer too.

Catch said...

I used to have a close relationship with both of my brothers until my Father passed away. When my Father died he left a company, my brother had worked at the company for years and years so he felt he was entitled to it, even though my Mother was still alive ( and it should have been all hers) To make a long story short, it got rather ugly. My one brother and I are very close but the other one we tolerate, simply because of everything he has done. My Mother lives with me, so I have to be civil when he comes here to see her ( which is not often) and I do my best to be only b/c of her. But my other brother and I and our families get together for bbq, birthdays and holidays. Ill take my family over the money anyday. I blame part of my other brothers attitude on his wife, she is the most unfriendly person you might meet. She has never encouraged him to make amends with his family.

Mike, Nicki, and Josh said...

I've got 8 siblings all together but, I'm the oldest of most and they are all "Steps" and "Halfs" I've got 2 half brothers, 2 half sisters, 1 step brother and 2 step sisters. The steps will no longer be steps soon because there is going to be a divorce. My closest blood related sibling in age, a half sisters is still 7 years my Junior. I never lived with her. The oldest blood related sibling that I grew up with was my half brother who is 10 years my junior. So, I am really more like an Aunt to most of my siblings rather than an actually sibling. I never had the feeling I was missing out on something though. Very happy with my only child status. After all I was the original!! (HA HA) I had trouble enough just trying to keep up with the disfunction and drama going on to worry about sibling rivalry!

Anonymous said...

I'm the oldest girl of 6 children. We all live close by but are very busy with children of our own. I have 3 and between the rest of them there are a total of 16 kids under 17. We don't see each other alot but we also "circle the wagons" when we need to. We know we can count on each other and we don't hold grudges. Our parents were together for 35 years until my dad passed away and they were always there for their siblings. I give them the credit for our relationship with each other. You learn what you see.

Carolyn said...

I have one sister I grew up with. We had the same mother.

I have another sister I've only seen three times. We had the same father.

My oldest sister and I bonded over having a traumatic childhood together. But there was an incident (since we've been adults) I can't explain here, that made her and I not as close. It makes me sad. :(

Dr.John said...

I have two sisters. I lobve them both and fight with them both. But we also know how to circle the wagons.

Dianne said...

You have posed some very interesting questions there. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters, all of whom are between 20-16 years older than me. Needless to say there really isn't much of a bond there, they had all left home either before I came or shortly after I came along. They all look at me as the snotty little kid that I was growing up, not as the woman or mother that I am today. As well there were some issues that happened before I was born between my parents and siblings and I think they resent me for not having the same life as them.

None of my siblings have made an effort to see my kids, let alone call when I had them. It makes me mad more for my kids than for me, but it's my siblings missing out on 3 great and incredible kids, not the other way around. Travis and I have made a big effort to make the 5 of us a family unit and to teach the kids that we are all in it together. When someone has a soccer game, we all go and support them. I know that will change as they get older, but if we teach it to them now, hopefully they will carry it with them forever and they will be able to circle the wagons with each other.

Miss Kelly said...

Kristin and I have the exact same family. I also have 2 older brothers. We get along so well it's almost sick. Although we disagree at times (because we obviously have different personalities and that's just expected) we've never had a "falling out" or big family fight. I can't see that ever happening. And one sister-in-law I tolerate, with the rest of the family, but the other is like a sister to me and I love her to bits & pieces.

Dianne said...

Well, after reading Kelly's comment, am I the sister in law that gets tolerated, or the other one? HMMMMM! I should have mentioned that I did marry into a great family and if it wasn't for them, I might have become very bitter and mean!!

Gingers Mom said...

Dianne - I think that is so cool that you enjoy your in laws so much. I wish I had that luxury. My in laws are lame. I think it is really sad you never found a way to have a relationship with your siblings. Too bad they are missing out. Their loss.

Kelly - I am glad my family never had one of those big falling outs either. Sometimes I wonder how that can happen.

Carolyn - It's terrible how those relationships can get muddled. I wonder if one can ever get past a big falling out. Sounds like you came a long way with a hard family history. Looks like you turned out great.

Nicki - I can never keep up with your family. Whew! I love having brothers. It feels like an elite society that we are the only members of.

Catch - I guess sometime siblings are such different people you can't find common ground. No one on my husband's side is friendly with their siblings. My hubby tries to be friendly with his brother but it is hard because they don't accept me.

Ms L - good for you to teach your kids to always appreciate and support each other. I think that is a key element. I wish you had a sibling close to you too. At least you have made a wonderful family of your own.

Beads - that is great that you and your sister found a way to be close after a possible estrangement? I always wanted a sister to be best buds with.

Candy - I learned to appreciate my brother ALOT more as an adult. I think it is our nature to want to beat up on them as kids. LOL

Dr John - I think that's how a healthy family should be.

Mike, Nicki, and Josh said...

OOOPPPS, I have 3 half sisters not 2. See, it's hard enough just to count them all!

Beth said...

I'm an only child and as I grew older I began to envy those who had siblings. Appreciate having a brother or sister-because not having someone there can be a little lonesome. Stopping by to thank you for visiting me last week!