I just had a visit from my sister, who lives a twelve-hour drive away from me, so we don’t get together as often as we’d like. We were delighted to see one another, stayed up half the night talking, took her little rat terrier to the beach for a run, dissected our continuing hopes and dreams, and reminisced a bit about the past. When I’m with my sister, life is pure bliss.
Now, I know that not everyone feels that way about his or her sisters or brothers. In fact, I know quite a few people who run the other way when their sis is in town, or who cringe when they find out the brother who tortured them with nasty tricks as a child will be at Thanksgiving dinner. Sadly, there are brothers and sisters who don’t even speak, and I’ve heard far too many tales (especially after a parent has died) of folks who no longer communicate with siblings in any way, shape, or form. Oftentimes, these rifts occur after a parent’s will is read, which just goes to show how “stuff” can really get in the way.
I don’t blame these individuals, because everyone has a reason for why they stay connected—or disconnect—from another person, whether that person is a blood relative or not. But I count my close relationships with my brother and sister among my life’s greatest blessings. I don’t take my sibs for granted, and I do have to work (a bit) to keep the connection strong. (Though it matters less and less as we age, there is just a tad of space between us in terms of years. I was our parents', ahem, afterthought.)
Whatever the case, I’m personally declaring this week Hug Your Sister Week. It seems like a good week for it, since my sister is here. But even if your sister is around all the time, you might want to give her an affectionate squeeze. There’s something to be said for people who share the past in a way that no one else ever can. (And I’m sure there’s something to be said for being an only child, as well!)
After all, only my siblings know what it was really like to wake up in the night to the sound of our father’s house-rattling snoring, or how long the trip to our favorite lake in the Adirondacks seemed on a hot August morning. Only my sibs truly understand why we all hate that grizzly, vile stuff called cube steak, or why the very word penuche (a delicious maple sugar fudge our mom used to make) can bring tears to our eyes.
Of course, we are different in many ways, but siblings are our first living lessons on how much we share in common.