Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Family Ties – Siblings

Family Ties – Siblings

Tis that time of year when families gather to celebrate the holiday season, indulge in mounds of highly caloric food and sip the occasional cocktail or other adult beverage.

It has become a tradition in recent years for my husband and me to host Thanksgiving dinner at our humble abode in beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  My parents and in-laws are regulars.  This year we are fortunate to have my brother visiting from Fort Worth.  We’ve also decided to change things up a bit and serve small plates or tapas throughout the day rather than gorge on turkey, potatoes, a vegetable casserole and stuffing to avoid that tryptophan induced mid afternoon doze.

As with many families, it is rare for all of the adult siblings to congregate for a holiday any longer. As family members marry, move and have children other commitments and priorities take over. And then again, it is also rare for all of us to love one another in perfect harmony at one time. On occasion there are estrangements.  Some last longer than others. Some cause some angst or sadness. Others don’t. 

While my brother and I disagree on many issues, we generally don’t take it personally. His sense of humor is rawer than mine and he tends to eschew political correctness. But we tend to spend time companionably. We also work in the same industry courtesy of my using nepotism to get him his first job.  And he forgave me for getting him into insurance claims. When we did endure a lengthy estrangement it was primarily the result of my offering unsolicited advice.  Then pride interfered with reconciliation. But ultimately, we repaired our relationship and moved forward.  The relationship is based in friendship as well as blood.

The relationship with my youngest sibling has always been rocky with ebbs and flows and ups and downs with the changes of seasons.  We’re too ideologically separate.  We’ve never experienced actual friendship.  The relationship has always been more based on need – her needing or wanting something from me be it a purple sweater, my availability to babysit while she had surgery, acting as chauffeur to New York or offering an ear on a nearly daily basis while she was being diagnosed with lupus.  But a schism results from any disagreement or for failure to be on board with an idea or course of action.  And I’m okay with that. It is what it is.  I am sorry for my parents having to deal with our idiosyncrasies, but that is family.  Fortunately, our parental units tend to go with the flow and accept us as we are.

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