Ode To Siblings (Even The Annoying Ones)

The inevitable Charlie's Angels-inspired sibling photo

I can smell an only child from a million miles away.

They’re confident and magnetic. They’re interesting but also genuinely interested in others. They make no apologies for who they are. They’re the Kings and Queens of Cool.

In fact, they’re so likable that people give them a free pass when they unknowingly dominate conversations with their strong opinions, countless stories, and quirky stream of consciousness.

Adults who grew up as an only child speak as if everything that comes out of their mouths is important, for the mere fact that it came out of their mouths.

My husband, the quintessential only child, says that when you live in a household with only 3 people in it and you’re the cutest one of the bunch, you’re damn right all of your thoughts are important!

However, there are benefits to growing up in a medium-sized to large family, too — namely, the mere blessing of having siblings.

The Night It Hit Me

One night I was in the car with my older brother. He was playing me a recording of his folk/ country band’s latest rehearsal.

I started crying.

And when he asked why, I said it was because their music was utterly gorgeous. But that was only half of the reason.

The other reason why I was a weepy, sniffling fool as we drove through the dark streets that night was because I love my big brother. And when I hear beautiful music I think of him because music is where our lives intersect. He and I have an unspoken and subtle bond that is different from how I relate to my older sister (who is one of my best friends), and not quite as visible as how I relate to my younger brother (who makes the best side-kick).

Why You Should Love Even The Annoying Ones

Siblings are the only people who have known you all your life, and will continue to know you for whatever is left of it. When jobs, pets, and significant others come and go, your siblings remain the same. They will help you raise your children, and you will help them raise theirs. They will understand exactly what you mean when you b*tch about your parents. And I guarantee you that your siblings will be the ones you hold onto for dear life after your parents die, and you suddenly realize that neither you, nor anyone in your family, will live forever.

I’m not saying it’s always easy to get along with your siblings. (Mine used to tie me up and put me in the oven. They never turned it on, but still.)

However, I think we should strive to become better people because of them.

That means opening up to the joy they can bring you, and being grateful when they do. It also means making peace with those siblings who get on our last nerve, and forgiving the ones who contributed to whatever complex we may have.

Build a beautiful life with your siblings in it, however that may look. One day you’ll be glad you did.

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12 Responses to Ode To Siblings (Even The Annoying Ones)

  1. Pingback: How To Be Poor (And Happy) | a brave life

  2. Grace says:

    When I was young I was scared of the time in my life when my siblings and I would become adults and eventually pull away from each other. The thought of living more than a 40 minute drive or one subway/bus transfer away frightened me because I was afraid it would mean physical distance led to emotional distance. And though we don’t get to be involved in each other’s daily lives, we relish hearing the details of those lives when we are reunited.

    The adults we have become are better versions of the children we were and the roles we had then. The difference is that we actually compliment each other since we know each other’s strengths. This becomes obvious as our parents age and become ill, when we face a family crisis or during a long overdue family meal and we are just trying to decide where to eat!

    PS
    I think you look like Alana in my communion picture up there!

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      So beautifully put, sis. I agree with every word and have nothing to add accept I love you guys. :)

      PS. I think I only look like Alana in the photo because I’m 3.

  3. Brian says:

    Just so you know, this is the most important comment on this post ;)

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      And just so YOU know, now that we have our own little family you are no longer “the cutest of the bunch”! (Punky & Cheeto are tied for first place…and they clearly run the place.)

  4. Sheryl says:

    My little brother? One of my favourite people in my life. We aren’t very much alike – he’s the biggest social butterfly you’ve ever met, and I’m quite the homebody/introvert most of the time.

    And yet? He’s one of few people I want to be around when I’m upset. A few years back when I ended up in the ER with a mystery illness his presence was one of the only things that made me feel safe. He’s the person I go to (and vice versa) when we need to talk and be supported by don’t want to worry our mom or get her hopes up about things.

    Also a great thing about siblings: they know when to call you on your bullshit. Not fun, but very important.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      That is too sweet! There really is something so comforting about siblings — the care and concern minus the judgment (but plus the brutal honesty)! I hope your brother knows that he is one of your favorite people. How wonderful and touching.

  5. KMD says:

    As I had discussed with you previously, having a big family is pretty cool sometimes (there are cousins on my mom’s side I’ve never even met :p). I feel you on siblings. My sisters & I are pretty close in age, but I’d say I’m closer with the older of my two younger siblings. My youngest sister and I get along, but our fights were (and can be) vicious. We’re different from each other on several levels, but it might be just physical things (i.e., taste in clothes/music/men/whatever). Things have gotten better between us even though we see things differently. But, yeah, siblings really are your BFFLs (best friends for life, as the kids say)-and that’s why I love mine.
    Another great post! And thumbs up for the cute pictures :)

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      Your family is such a blast — really great company. It’s true that with age a lot of the sibling rivalry and petty stuff melts away. Remnants may linger (after all, from a therapeutic standpoint a family is a “system” wherein everyone plays a role in order to sustain the dynamics), but change is always possible when you’re willing to do the hard work of growing and forgiving. As someone who is so close with your family, I’m sure you know first hand how worth it it is.

      Do you like Marc’s “Sumo Baby” look? ;)

      • KMD says:

        Thank you very much! We have our fun. :) Just this evening, one of my sisters was feeling ‘in a rut’ so my other sister and I tried to talk with her and offer some advice. Our dynamics have definitely changed, especially as each of us has ‘come into our own’, so to speak. I’m sure each of your siblings complement each other in different ways like you mentioned in this article.

        ‘Sumo baby’-hahahaha! Good one :D He was a cute baby, but an even cuter kid/man! ;)

  6. Burt says:

    Hah, this is true. I’ve but one sibling (she is enough) but I know how you feel. Given the distance between us in age (not insignificant, yet not too far), our distinct temperaments and interests, we’re very different people. However, at her surprise birthday party this past winter she was shocked that I won the ‘who knows her best’ quiz that everyone had to take by a wide margin – even more so than my parents. Funny to see it play out. We hated each other growing up, but we seem to understand each other now. Then again, it’s always easier to get along when you’re 2,500 miles away from one another and no longer are forced to share a bathroom.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      Aww, I love that story, Burt! Yes, distance and separate bathrooms do help! I’m glad to hear that you and your sister understand each other despite your differences. Just goes to show that sibling love can look all sorts of ways — you don’t necessarily have to be best friends but an appreciation of your unique bond and history is still pretty special.

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