Brothers and Sisters.

I am the youngest of four siblings. Doug and Nick are barely a year apart, followed by Amelie, then me. Sometimes I watch the four of us around the dinner table and wonder how we were each born from the same two parents. And then in rarer times, quieter times, I see the subtle thread that ties us; the binding, intangible something in our hearts that seeks greatness and loves easy. On many nights, like tonight, I wonder who I’d be without my siblings. And if I’m feeling extra philosophical, I wonder what the world would be like without them. I find them that important! There’s a strong energy about the four of us. We do OK on our own, but there’s this tangible vibrancy when we’re together. And this unintended dynamic of reverse reciprocals has formed among us. Where one is slow the other is fast. Where one is hard the other is soft. Where one yells the other soothes. Where one forgets the other remembers.

What has occurred to me recently is that each one of us carries a different piece of our dad around. And this is why I think there is such powerful and positive energy when the four of us are together; we’re putting together four pieces to revive a beautiful whole. Since each of our relationships with our dad was different, and we were all different ages when he died, we all carry something different. My brother Doug carries his Peace and Patience. Nick carries his thoughtfulness and social graces. Amelie carries his joyful “Burst of Sunshine” characteristic. And I carry his attentiveness to the voiceless. We ALL carry his sense of humor, his fearlessness in being weird, his desire to play meaningless pranks, and his simple talent of just being fun. At least, we all try.

Dad reading to the kids, Christmas '84 (click to enlarge)

Having the three of them in my life has been a true gift. And maybe while I’m prancing around in LaLa Land I should clear up that we are NOT The Brady Bunch over here. We  have plenty of dysfunctional to pass around. We yell at each other, make fun of each other, grow insanely impatient with one another, and sometimes we even wrestle. It isn’t uncommon for my brother to call me a turd sandwich or my sister to call Nick an asshole at least once every few days. When it happens, usually I’m acting like a turd sandwich and Nick is in fact acting like an asshole. Sometimes he calls Amelie a pain in the ass, which she can be. And we all yell at Doug for being the slowest human being on the planet. BUT. But, but, but. Behind any name-calling, shouting, mental or physical abuse, there is a deep and unbreakable love. It’s always been there. Even in my loneliest of times, there has been a quiet assurance in the back of my mind that I am not actually alone. I know in the that before I’m out under a bridge somewhere, I have three doors to knock on first, and each I know would open.

Whether in the form of a helping hand, money, food, shelter, an ear, a reality check, a pat on the back, or a cheering-up, we’ve all lent to one another different things at different times. And it’s a real treasure that we’re able to do that. You’ll have to excuse my notalgic sulking, I’m a little down in the dumps now that the house is quiet and there isn’t a cacophony of sibling rivalry bouncing off our walls. I always get sad after we make the last trip to the airport to bid the last family member adieu. Today we said good-bye to Nick, and all is finally quiet here. I’ve always loved the chaos of having them home. Ever since I was in 7th grade and Doug was first to go off to college, I always became exceedingly anxious around late November, because it meant everyone was coming home again. We’d finally all be together. Now I’m 27, and still the anxious kid around November, and sulky in early January, after everybody leaves. Anyway, I need to stop boo-hooing. Just thought I’d let Doug, Nick, and Amelie know, I love you. A lot. Even though you’re all turd sandwiches. Can’t wait till next year.

Health, Happiness, And A Quiet House Again.

152 thoughts on “Brothers and Sisters.

  1. I truly understand, I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers, but it’s amazing the feeling you get with them around. Like you said even when you’re lonely you have this assurance that you aren’t really alone. I can relate in so many ways.


  2. I am 1 of 4 as well…I have an older sister…and younger sister and a younger brother…
    couldnt help but notice ur blog title…my mom has fibromyalgia… :/ and I am not even sure the amount of pills she takes a day!!


  3. I recently suffereed a near death illness & the greatest gift I received (after returning to life) was to see my children loving & supporting one another while this happened. One son lives far away but was there immediately for his siblings & has promised to visit more often & after 3 months now, they are communicating better than ever.
    I know now when I meet my REWARD, they’ll be okay………together ♥


  4. I don’t see anywhere near enough of my one and only sibling, or my parents for that matter. They are all 1,000 k’s away but that’s no excuse. still, they could make an effort too I suppose. Thanks for the posting


  5. Hi Danii,

    I am a fellow blogger and have just been awarded “The Versatile Blogger” award by another blogger. (Please understand that I know little about it but am grateful to have been awarded it.)

    As far as I can make out it is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers whose work/blogs they appreciate.

    Part of getting this award is that you have to pass it along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.

    Since I have visited your blog a few times now and really enjoyed it (albeit that I normally prefer to just read it and then leave, I thought I would award this award to you also as the author of a blog I enjoy reading.

    I have also, as part of this, detailed your blog on one of my blogs “Voices of Glass”

    I hope you don’t mind and understand that I really do enjoy your blog which is why I included it in my list.
    Kind Regards,



  6. Yeah, no matter how much my brother calls me an asshole or how much my sister gets frustrated with me or how much my other sister shows me the finger, I still love the 3 of them to bits, pieces and fragments. I’m guessing those evil little acts are essential in strengthening the thread holding all of us together. ;)


  7. Great read! I have three kids and their bond reminds me of yours already (they’re 5, 3 and 5 months). I can already see them coming together to support each other. Our youngest was in the hospital for 4 months and has already had 3 surgeries. Her older brothers have been constantly there for her. I can really imagine one of them writing this post one day. Thanks for a glimpse into the future!


  8. This is such a wonderful post! The empty house syndrome is so sad and silly at the same time! It shows the human-ness in all of us when we long for people to stay around. I am the oldest of four and we are close, although sometimes not speaking. But I like you know, before I HAVE to go live under the bridge, I can go knock on their doors and find a warm place to sleep! Congrats on FP!!! Well Done! Your Dad is very proud! (and Mom too!)


  9. i love this post! Just had such a great time with my sister and one of my brothers last night–my sister flew in to town to help take care of my brother’s little son while his wife cares for her mother. Your description of the shared energy was what I felt last night, a peace and feeling of home that is hard to find after death of our mom a few years ago. It is more of a challenge for us to keep up now that she is gone, but so worth it. Beautiful, thanks so much.


  10. Great post, I’m sure your sibs will appreciate your public proclamation of your love and faithfulness. I’m the oldest of 3 girls and we’ve been through a lot already in our lives, including the divorce of our parents after 38 years, losing both our grandmothers within 8 months recently, and various relationship, job and family issues. I am the one who lives away from the rest of the family and I miss my sisters terribly, but I know they are just a text/call/email away should I need them.


  11. Lovely post, especially in a world where families are getting smaller, two kids at the max. Appreciate life is much more expensive then before, maybe because we are all thay much greedy, but nothing beats having your siblings around…..



  12. @Displaced I agree! I have a sister and we get on extremely well, I think it is really important if you do get on with your sibling to keep it that way.


  13. I loved this line: “We do OK on our own, but there’s this tangible vibrancy when we’re together.” It’s something even I have felt when I’m with my two younger sisters! Great post! :)


  14. What a sweet and beautiful post. I’m the mother of two young ones and reading your post makes me hope that they can become as bonded as the four of you (with all of the madness in between of course, because hey, we are normal too!) ;)


  15. That’s a great post about family, and very appropriate to read post holidays as I am currently torn between the joy of seeing all of my family or the agony of returning home to all of the drama again. Definitely a great way to keep things in perspective, and a good reminder about what lies beneath of it all. Thanks for a great post.


  16. This post honestly brought tears to my eyes. You are truly lucky to have your siblings, and the fact that you appreciate them is even better. I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers. Out of them I am the oldest, next was my sister Amanda, and the rest of our siblings are much younger. Amanda is the one I grew up with, the one I shared everything with, a room, clothes, friends, etc. She was only 15 months younger than me. She knew everything about me and we could talk about anything. We fought like hell sometimes but we were always there for each other. She was my built in best friend. Amanda died suddenly from an AVM in her brain in 2005. She was 2 months shy of her 19th birthday and I was 20. I feel like a part of me died with her, and my life will never be the same. I have come to appreciate my other siblings (and other family members) a lot more now. You never know what you have until its gone. It is so sad to me when I see people fighting and not speaking to their siblings for years. Life is too short for all of that nonsense. I am happy to see someone being appreciative of their brothers and sisters for once :)


  17. I love, love, love what you posted here. Your post reminded me of how much I love my siblings and how lucky I am to have them. Reading your post was a reminder of how much of a blessing having siblings truly are :) And you’ve said it so beautifully. This is my favorite part of your post:

    ” BUT. But, but, but. Behind any name-calling, shouting, mental or physical abuse, there is a deep and unbreakable love. It’s always been there. Even in my loneliest of times, there has been a quiet assurance in the back of my mind that I am not actually alone. I know in the that before I’m out under a bridge somewhere, I have three doors to knock on first, and each I know would open.”


  18. I feel that blogs is nice to have and Truth has to be spoken that ‘s important,because Truth has the inherit power to produce the promise effects. Because without Truth where are we, We will become lost.


  19. AWESOME reflection! I’m the youngest too except my only sister is 10 years older than me. Funny…. she’s an occasional pain in the ass too. :)


  20. Hi Mary! I stumbled across your blog through Freshly Pressed.

    1st: Congrats on being FPed!
    2nd: Kudos on this amazing blog! (I loved the photos of Monty ‘truck diving’ and ‘exfoliating’!)
    3rd: I just wanted to say that you are inspirational. Your strength, courage and positive outlook on life is just wonderful!

    If you ever feel a little low, a little afraid, and need some encouragement, have a read of this post
    but you’re already AWESOME!


  21. :) I often think that I wouldn’t know my 4 sibs if we weren’t related, we are all that different. But I know exactly what you mean about the energy of being together, it’s almost like we have our own language. Great post!


  22. This is the most emotionally-tugging post I’ve read so far. Your story bubbles with love and emotion and the love you have for each other as siblings is deeply felt by the reader. So proud of you and your siblings for maintaining such love for each other and making your parents’ dream come true (that of sibling love). Thanks for making your dad so proud because I’m sure he’s looking down upon his little kiddies with a huge smile :)

    Congrats on being freshly pressed. God bless!


  23. Funny you should mention this issue Im finding this a particularly trying isssue in my life .Mom went and exited this world and ever since than Moldest sibling seems to think she is now the ruling matriarch.Has forgotten that we are infact very much all big and grown up.I personly have tried so hard to stabilise the relationship but continuously get treated like Im 5 with desasterouse consequences to my nearest and dearest.
    So ………turd samwiches are not my cup of tea.And Iv closed the door .Shes welcome to have a relationship with me when she treats me as an equal ,but till than…………
    O and this desision was not easy and I cried many tears before I realised that I cant change her!


  24. Extremely true! there are only girls in our families and we are extremely close to each other. Now that we’re older, we are more friends than each others’ rivals and i absolutely love and cherish our comfort and friendship that I know I can never have with anyone else!!

    Thanks for the awesome blog!
    – M



  25. This post resonated with me a lot. I have a brother two years younger than me. The part of our relationship that I loved the most (and that always surprised my mother) was that regardless how intense the topic was that we fought over with each other, we would make up in a matter of minutes.

    This is how it would script out:

    Bro 1: You @^#^#^!

    Bro 2: No you @%#&#^.

    [UFC payperview event lasting 5-10 minutes. Each of us retreats for a while to calm down. Bro 1 reenters the room after 5 minutes]

    Bro 1: They are playing soccer downstairs. Let’s go.

    Bro 2: Awesome, let’s do it.

    Mom: What the hell…

    lol… i think we have both become more mature now, especially after one of us moved out attend law school. We now try not to take the time we spend together for granted anymore and use it, I guess, with more “maturity”


  26. What a blessing you have. My family is completely dysfunctional and everyone seems to have nothing but bitterness in their hearts. In fact, I started building a “sub” family of my own. People who I can trust not to do me damage like my own family does. You are really blessed.


    1. Angelique on this im 100% wiith you.(see my commment) just because you are born of the same parents doesnt mean you shared the same experiences,have the same values or even see relationships the same .When a husband or friends behavior continuously degrades and diminishes you most people exit,yet siblings expect you to offer yourself up for slaughter time and time, the same rules for all relationships must apply!


  27. I have four children ages 23-29 and my most enjoyable moments now are watching them interact with each other around the kitchen table when they come for dinner or to watch TV with their father and me. I love to hear them bicker, call each other names, laugh and love each other. Like you, we aren’t the Brady bunch (we put the FUN back in dysfunctional) – but I figure I have done my job because they know that there is always someone in the world who will want them around — even when called a turd bucket!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!


  28. I don’t know where I’d be without my brothers in this world. Nobody can truly understand and know the bond between siblings better than the siblings involved. Every brother or sister will get on your nerves from time to time, or most of the time, but the blissful moments where you feel like a family that can’t be duplicated alone are what matter the most. Greatly written and well thought out post.


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