A little over 20 years ago, I was visiting family way down south in Golden Meadow for the Summer. We’d gone to my Aunt and Uncle’s camp at Port Fourchon with a few of my cousins. My oldest cousin, then in his early 20s, had just won a boat in a fishing competition and was taking his sister and a few other family members out for a spin. He needed to take a look at something towards the back of the boat while we were moving, and he looked at his sister and said “Hey Al, come drive the boat for a second?” It was a reflex. They’d grown up around boats and he knew he could ask her to drive it and everything would be fine.
I always remembered that moment, and decades later, I know why.
There is a certain bond between siblings, no matter their closeness or relationship status, that fundamentally links them – and it’s in their bones. Sometimes it’s people they know. Sometimes it’s childhood memories. More often than not, it’s their parents’ idiosyncrasies that simultaneously make them laugh and drive them crazy. My cousin knew he could ask his sister to drive the boat. My brother can name any street in Queens, NY, and either one of us can picture it in our heads and tell you three ways to get there by train. My husband can start naming fishing baits or types of deer stands, and his little brother will immediately understand him. My mom and her sisters might debate the best meat to put in their white beans (pickled pork or smoked sausage) – but you better believe all of them cook that meal regularly.
Sure, we can all have those conversations with others.
But there’s something about talking about it with someone who lived it with you that gives it a bit of magic. There’s also that protective nature that comes up. We can all make fun of our siblings and parents, but no one else better dare, because that’s our territory!
I hope I can raise my boys to always feel that magic.
They’re so alike yet so different on a daily basis. I hope that even if they end up being very different people, they will always feel that strong bond. I hope they can always talk about fishing, and hunting, and music, and us. I hope they always make fun of how Mommy is not the best driver and always cooks too much food, and how Daddy is always planning his next project at the camp. How Mommy sings around the house and she kisses lots of scraped knees, but then she sends them to Daddy because he’s a nurse. How Daddy loves to sit on the patio, listen to music, and watch the rain.
Sometimes, I watch my friends and in-laws with multiple siblings and wonder what it’s like.
What’s it like to have another person to bounce ideas off of? I have identical twin boys – what would it be like if they had a sibling? Would there be a logical one? A wild one? A mediator? A free spirit? Maybe. But they won’t have another sibling, so now it’s my job to do all I can to foster their bond and pray it lasts forever. I’ve seen sibling relationships go both ways, for various reasons. I’ve watched and learned what to do, and what to avoid. I can only hope I put those lessons into practice, and that in 30 years, their spouses and children will see the “magic” between them, and hope they have the same bond themselves.