Saturday, November 20, 2021

Siblings

Since I was a little girl, I've lamented the fact that I have no siblings. My mother made it clear from my earliest childhood that there would be no brothers or sisters. All in all, that's probably one of the better decisions she ever made in her life. My parents were very young when I was born, and in those days they didn't have any business having me, much less any more kids! Still, it made for lonely growing-up years, and when my parents are gone I'll have few blood relations left. Cousins I have nothing in common with barely count, and I have no children of my own. Sometimes I think I was destined to be a little bit lonely in life.

One good thing about marriage, though, is that you get another shot at siblings! Also nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, etc. Gregg's family has always welcomed me with open arms, and it means a lot to me. His brother Gary and sister Karen don't feel like "in-laws" to me. They just feel like "our" brother, and "our" sister. I'm pretty lucky because I love both of them and I'm sure they love me back. I just wish I could see more of them!

I'm thinking of this tonight because Karen called me up a little while ago and we talked about the upcoming holidays. It looks as though she may be able to come down the day after Christmas and stay with us for two or three days! I'm really excited about it. We haven't seen her since June when she drove down here for a funeral (but had to drive back to Raleigh that very same afternoon). We love hanging out with her, and it will be a fun time if she's here on the week of Christmas. It's something I'll be looking forward to!

Do you have siblings? Or siblings-by-marriage? Do you like them, and like spending time with them? I'd be interested to hear about it if you do. Or don't, as the case may be. :)

28 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    I have two siblings, a brother and a sister both older than myself. To be honest since my father passed some fours ago I have little contact with either. My sister, older by ten years, has always been insular and we have just drifted apart with neither having an interest in each other’s lives and I have come to realise that brother, four years older, is a completely self absorbed narcissist with whom I cannot bear to have anything to with these days. Tis funny that when young you do not see siblings or for that matter parents faults and it is only with age and experience do you come to realise that they are just people after all.
    So I wouldn’t worry about not having siblings m’dear, tis the few true friends you make in life that are important.
    John
    https://suburbanwildgarden.blogspot.com/

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  2. I grew up with four brothers and a sister. Too many considering the family finances couldn't handle the brood. I grew up very poor. I’m the oldest. We were all close when we were young. In fact, being the oldest, with mom having to work, I was like the mother in the family. Though they had a different father than I, I never thought of them as half brothers/half sister nor did they think that way of me. Their father, my step dad, thought otherwise, was mean to me. My brothers and sister — his children, being protective of me, did not like that. Being young kids, not much they could do about it except give him dirty looks and sabotage his food and drinks. LOL. I won’t disgust you with how they sabotaged his food and drink, but it did make me feel better. The youngest brother came along when I was about 13 and he was so attached to me that many believed he was my child, not my brother. I’m trying to think about when everything went wrong and why they went wrong, but things did go wrong. I never told mom that stepdad was mean to me — he’d go to a closet, toss everything out, tell me to clean it up. I did. When I’d lock myself in my room to get away from him, have homework spread out on the floor, he’d enter my room, stomp on my papers. Just mean for no reason. At any rate, sometime after the last boy was born, mom kicked stepdad out of the house. I came out of the environment okay because I buried myself in books, but my brothers and sister had taken to the streets, were living a different life than I at a very early age and, by the time I moved out at 18, I was no longer close to them, nor they to me. The remainder of the story is long and complicated but, cutting to the chase, I the oldest am the only one still alive. Mom is gone, brothers and sister are gone. Do I miss them? No. Do I ever think of them? Not really. Those years when we were a close family unit are like a long ago dream, sometimes nightmare, that happened to a different me.

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  3. I have a brother and a sister, we talk occasionally. We're not very close because we were never raised to be close. We don't dislike each other. If something happens, we're there for each other, but not part of each other's daily lives.

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  4. I'm close with my sister but not with my brother. I've got lots of relatives, most of whom I'm not keen on and do not interact with.

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  5. I have one sister and two brothers, all older than me. We are all spread apart in age by 4 or 5 years. We are not "close", but do still get together for main holidays. The death or decline of our parents put strain on our relationships. I am geographically farther away from my siblings and I am content with that. -Jenn

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  6. I grew up with two older brothers. They were 9 and 12 when I was born so when I started school my oldest brother left for college. My middle brother left a few years later so I was basically like an only child. I was very close to my middle brother most of my life. He died quite a few years ago from cancer. My oldest brother is now 81 and has retired in Costa Rica where he loves to photograph nature and birds. We are closer now although we never actually see each other. I am the youngest grandchild in my family so unfortunately most of my family has passed.

    That is wonderful that you are close to Gregg's family and it sounds like you have siblings through his family. I'm happy for you that Karen will be able to come and visit over Christmas!

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  7. I am 4 and half years older than my brother. Apparently I was very jealous when he was born. I remember my Mum saying once that they wished they hadn't waited so long to have another child. Financial reasons I guess. We never really got on.....I used to tease him and he would kick me in the shins! He left home at 18 to go to college and then moved to Essex with his partner Mike, who he has been with for nearly 50 years now. We see them every couple of months for a pub lunch and occasionally text.

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  8. Sister gone young and brother, well, you know all about him. I have over 20 cousins, most whom I want nothing to do with. But, like you, I was very lucky in my partner. Especially close with one of his sisters and both her sons.

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  9. I'm much like you Jennifer ...a only child. My mother said the same thing yours did for some time. She only ever wanted one. But she worried I many end up spoiled, or lonely being a only child, but turns out I could entertain myself, and I never turned into a spoiled brat. She worried once they were gone, I would have no family left, but we do have many more members, some cousins I'm close to you. I also have a half sister and brother , who are much older then I from my father first marriage. We were closer when I was younger, and we keep in touch over the year except my half brother had some kind of perfect life, had a nervous break down and up and left his wife and family, quit a 6 figure job and disappeared...we have no idea where he even went, it's been about 10 years now. I also also a very close knit group of friends so I really never worry about being lonely once my family is gone.

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  10. Wow, reading the comments of others about siblings has helped me feel rather normal. I used to think that there was something very wrong with my family, because we didn't look like nor did it feel like the Hallmark Card family, ever. I have 4 sisters, no brothers. I am number 4 of the 5. We are spread out over several states. I only actually see one of my sisters, on purpose. The others I am not close to, for various sad reasons, and I don't see them and don't want to. Both parents are now gone, and the only way I imagine, that I will see the others is perhaps at funerals. What I have learned (from counseling and lots of research) is that the relationships we have with others is determined by the relationships we have with our parents; that our brains are wired in the first 3 years of life, usually from fear, and we either people please to survive or run away. It's transgenerational trauma - and very few, maybe none, can escape it. I've made my chosen friends my now family - which is much better because I choose who is in my life.

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  11. I am number 3 of 7 children. I get along with all but one. My husband and I only had one child, a daughter, who both loved and chafed at being an only child. However, in 2017, my husband did a DNA test and discovered he has a second daughter who is a few years older than our daughter. We have met her, and love her, and she is very much a part of our lives. Now my daughter is the youngest child. It took a while for her to adjust to that.

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  12. I was the youngest - by far - of 4. Having siblings is not always good, believe me.

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  13. Let's just say that by some miracle I have created the family I always wished I had.

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  14. My sister passed away about six years ago, and I have a brother who is difficult to like. I have cousins and count some of Carlos' family as my own, but, as a gay human, I have also created a family out of friends over the years.

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  15. It's sad to read so many sad stories about sibling relationships. I am the eldest of 3 sisters and we deeply love and care for each other. Our parents divorced and introduced 'difficult' step parents into our lives so we sisters made a pact to stick together and never fall out.

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  16. In the end family is what we make it to be; I am glad you have found yours.

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  17. I have 2 brothers and 1 sister and we all live in the same town. I see my sister more than my brothers but I know if I needed anything, I could count on them. I had 5 children and now have 6 grandchildren. We are a little spread out so I don't see some of them as much as I would like to! I am happy when we get to spend time together.

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  18. I am done with my siblings and have ended all contact. We might have come from the same parents, but we are nothing alike. Their cruelty is boundless. X's family was not mine. For a while, it bothered me that I didn't have "family," especially after what happened with my son, but I have lovely friends and my Sweet Cheeks. It's gratifying to be able to do things for people who appreciate my efforts. Today Sweet Cheeks raved about the pulled pork I made. His compliments make me so happy. I also helped Carol with her phone last week (she thinks I'm a tech genius) and she sent me the sweetest card to thank me and tell me she loves me. These relationships are gold.

    Love,
    Janie

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  19. I've just read 'Boots and Braids' comment above; I really feel for her! I have one older sister, and a few cousins somewhere, but I never see them. I don't think they're interested; sadly, nor am I.

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  20. I say I'm an only child but I had a half sister that I never grew up with or knew all that well till we were grown..I have outlived almost all my cousins that are my age...I have second and third cousins that I am close to but we don't talk about religion or politics..of if we do they don't like it much..I was a daddy's girl and part of my heart left me when he did..I have 3 kids..my oldest son committed suicide 3 years ago and my daughter has mental problems and I go from being her savior when she needs help to that bitch when she doesn't.I have my son his kids and their kids..I live for them.

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  21. From my blog, you know how close my sister and I are, and how frequently we spend time together. It helps that we live only about 15 minutes away from each other (on foot)!
    I am also very fortunate in having "acquired" siblings in Yorkshire, and with O.K.'s sister, I have gained another big sis. During my first marriage, I got along very well with my Sicilian husband's younger sister and brother. That all ended when we were divorced, and my young ex-brother-in-law even went so far as to send me nasty text messages (to which I never replied, of course).

    I am glad that you don't only have such a wonderful husband in Gregg, but also a wonderful family through him!

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  22. It's nice that your so close with your in-laws!
    I have two older brothers. They're good guys, and were all pretty close. I always wondered what it would be like to have a sister or not to be the youngest. I guess it's typical to wonder about what we don't have.

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  24. I was one of four brothers. Paul died unexpectedly in 2010 at the tender age of 62. Robin is seventy now and lives in south western France between Mirepoix and Pamiers. Simon is 65 and lives in the East Yorkshire village where I was born. Being a part of their lives has certainly enriched my life.

    My mother had just one brother - Derek who borrowed a significant amount of money from my father after WWII and never paid it back. Because of that we never had a relationship with his five daughters - my cousins. I met them just a few years ago at their mother's funeral and I felt extra sorrow because I could have grown up with them. They would have meant something to me but by 2014 it was really too late.

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  26. I am the oldest of four children and have/had three younger brothers. The two closest to me in age died young (16 and 25) and the only surviving one is 15 years younger than I am. We are close--but have been torn apart by differing views on politics, religion and the pandemic.

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