When you’re a kid, your siblings are a pretty big part of your life. They are your playmates and your roommates. They act as teachers, even if the biggest lesson you learn is to not be so gullible. They flip-flop between being trusted allies and sworn enemies. If nothing else, they are the people in your life who are always there, whether you want them to be or not.
But as you get older, your siblings aren’t conveniently in the room next door. You can’t just find them in the kitchen on a Saturday night and say, “Hey, wanna watch SNICK?” As you transition from the family you grew up in to a family you’ll grow yourself, staying in touch with siblings can become tricky.
This past weekend I traveled to Mexico with my family. My older brother’s girlfriend (who is AWESOME, by the way), hooked us up with a condo, so we had access to a beautiful beach along with a swimming pool and hot tub. The trip to Mexico in itself was wonderful, but I think one of the things I enjoyed the most was being able to spend time with my two brothers.
It’s been a while since I’ve hung out with my just brothers and no other extended family. We were never estranged or anything like that, but we aren’t exactly the super close, Brady Bunch-like siblings you see on TV. Plus, we’re currently living in three different states.
As far as age goes, one of my brother’s was always four years ahead of me in school, while the other was always four years behind. When you think about it, four grades apart is a big deal. It’s the difference between elementary school and middle school, middle school and high school, high school and college… you get the picture. We were never really in the same school at the same time, so it makes sense that we didn’t have many in-depth conversations on what was going on in our lives. We were always in different stages.
We have finally all caught up to one another and are currently in the same stage of life: our 20s. While early-20s, mid-20s and upper-20s all vary as far as goals and experience, we are still able to relate to each other better than, say, a kindergartener, a fifth-grader and a high school freshman.
I’m excited to start this new “adult relationship” phase with my brothers. I always imagined it would happen, most likely because my aunts and uncles are all so close.
So why is staying in touch with your siblings as adults important? Here are a few reasons:
They can help you learn more about yourself
Yes, your siblings can tell you all about the crazy things you did when you were five, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Now that you’re older and your personalities are more established, you may find that you and your siblings have similar tendencies. You might have habits or ways of communicating that you never even noticed until seeing that your siblings do the same things. Whether or not you want to jump into a deep psycho analysis from here is up to you. But it’s nice to have that option.
They give good advice
What? Advice from your brother (or sister)? The last time you took advice from a sibling you wound up in a rabbit cage. Well believe it or not, adult siblings are more mature and can actually give you some solid guidance. Whether it be finances, job-hunting or relationships, you have great resources right at your fingertips.
They are a sturdy link to your past
Friends come and go, but siblings are usually a constant in your life. You can always count on them when it comes to reminiscing about your childhood. They can also fill in the gaps on what you don’t remember, or give you a better perspective on events you may have been too young to fully comprehend at the time.
They are the anchors of your future
If you’re a family-oriented person, your siblings will play a big part in helping you establish your own family. They will be the godparents and the crazy aunts or uncles. They might have kids of their own and provide your children with instant friends. They are the ones who make holidays seem more festive. Ultimately, your siblings will keep you grounded to your past far into the future.
They’re your family
Everyone has different relationships with their families. But it’s important to stay in touch with all of your family members, even if you talk to some more than others. You all have shared experiences, and in the event of a tragedy your siblings will be important members of your support group. And sadly, tragedies will occur.
Are you close with your siblings? Do you think it’s important to maintain relationships with your brother(s) or sister(s)?