Siblings: Why they’re even more valuable as adults

My brothers and I circa 1997. You can tell the Packers had recently won a Super Bowl.

My brothers and I circa 1997. You can tell the Packers had recently won a Super Bowl.

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.

My brothers and I a few years ago in Chicago.

My brothers and I a few years ago in Chicago.

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)?

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11 thoughts on “Siblings: Why they’re even more valuable as adults

  1. Enjoyed you Blog.. Since my fathers death issue are really keeping us apart. I am missing the connection we had and I’d love to sit down with them again. i don’t think that will happen in the near future. I do lots of praying about it.

  2. Great photos! I think it’s an excellent point that you’re not in the same stage with your siblings until adulthood (unless you were born super-close together in age). My sister is nine years older than me so we have quite the age spread, but we have been doing all of the adult milestones – marriage, having kids, buying houses – much closer in time than nine years. But I still let her go first; let her test out the waters. I mean, that’s the benefit of being the little sister, isn’t it?! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! That’s great that even with such a large age gap you guys can still share those special moments. And yes, older siblings are excellent at paving the way. Since I’m the only daughter, sometimes I still need to take out my hatchet and clear some alternative routes. πŸ™‚

  3. I just about jumped out of my chair after reading my quick cameo in your blog! I’m ready to post it all over FB to show everyone else that I really am awesome, and I have proof that others think so too.

    PS. Great post, family is an extraordinary relationship. I cherish the relationships I have with my siblings to an extreme. It’s a blessing to be able to call them my best friends.

    • Haha, well you made the request, so I had to give you a shout-out (even though it was a small one). This is legitimate proof of your awesomeness; after all, the Internet never lies πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for reading! I wish I could have stuck around long enough to meet your family this past week. I’m sure there will be another time!

  4. I love this! I’m the oldest of four and we’er all about 4 years apart. So I’m 14 years older than the youngest! We weren’t exactly that Brady Bunch either, being in different schools on four completely different schedules. Bless my poor mother we must have drove her crazy! With me moving to a new state, my brother moving to college we’ve tried to make sure we always stay close and never lose that connection. It’ll be a long time from now but I can’t wait until the day where we’ll be the cool aunts and uncles with all the cousins playing around the yard. It definitely requires some conscious effort to make sure we keep in touch, even if its just the random text or snap chat.

    That’s wicked cool that you’re all in your twenties now. Must be nice to do activities that everyone can actually do and want to do. Great post πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Katie! Wow, that 14-year gap must make things a little challenging. Then again, I have cousins who are around that many years younger than me, and it’s fun to hang out with them. But you’re right, it’s hard to really have that connection until you’re all adults. I agree that it takes a conscious effort to keep in touch. Like you said, even a text every now and then is a perfect way to show you’re thinking about them πŸ™‚

  5. Great post. The four kids in my family are all spread really far apart (19 years between the oldest and youngest), so we were never really in the same “stage” together and our relationships have evolved a lot over time. I didn’t really grow up with my brother, the oldest, and we were never close until I was well into my twenties — but now, even though we don’t talk all the time, I love my relationship with him and always go to him for advice. And my little sister (who’s six years younger) and I could never really relate until just recently — but now we’re going on vacation together!

    • Holy smokes. So essentially, the oldest sibling could be a parent of the youngest. Crazy! I’m glad to hear your relationships with your siblings are evolving. I think the relationships you form still need to fit with the personalities/lifestyles of you and your siblings; not everyone can maintain a relationship that involves daily, or even weekly, conversations. What you have with your brother sounds perfect! And I hope you and your sister have a wonderful vacation!

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