So, I’m in sibling land these past few weeks. Gathering with my own many sibs at my mom’s house, at the Jersey shore, in a big group and in smaller one-on-ones or twos as well. It is my little slice of summer heaven to reconvene with these people that are parts of the puzzle that is me. Each day there are little private talks, big gregarious group discussions, and lots of things in between. Just last night I sat on the back porch of my mom’s house in a circle with 5 of us siblings present. A gift beyond all gifts.
I love these people with all my heart and soul and with every cell in my being. Truly. Being number 8 of 9 I also realize that in me is a little piece of all of them. Combined with my own unique piece which was just then beginning to reveal itself to me. I had that revelation on the beach some 30 years ago at the age of 18, but that’s a coming-of-age story I’ll share another time. Or not.
So someone asked me what is the secret to fostering sibling love? I know some of the things I think made it happen…
- my mom made us feel like part of a team, even dressing us in matching striped shirts when we’d all 9 go out together. (or 10 or more with added foster kids)
- giving us opportunities to be together without parents – traveling, on teams, in clubs, etc.
- helping us find ways to be together
- my parents modeling their own love of their own siblings – of course this only works if it’s true.
- my parents encouraging us all to live the life we love. without judgment. so that even though all of our lives are different, there is an acceptance and appreciation of each other’s lives.
My project over the next couple of weeks is to poll siblings. My own and others. My nieces and nephews. My children. My mom. Friends who are connected to sibs. What is it that makes it work?
It is of course a big goal of mine in the raising of my own children – to have them be dear friends as adults, as I am now with my own siblings. And so any input you have on this subject would be greatly appreciated. What do you know? What works? What decidedly didn’t or doesn’t? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And check back soon as I begin to post what I learn.