The Gift of Siblings, in the NY Times. Frank Bruni writes, "We marched (or, rather, crawled and toddled) into this crazy world together, and though we had no say in that, it’s by our own volition and determination that we march together still. Among my many blessings, this is the one I’d put at the top." I couldn't agree with him more. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that my family is my absolute top priority and the thing in my life of which I am the most proud. One thing I have thought a lot about over the last few years is how you keep a family together when you become separated by geography, when people marry and other personalities are introduced into the mix, when differences in finances, and lifestyle, and children start to enter the scene. So far, so good. Two of the four of us are married and our spouses value family in the same way my siblings do. Though we're separated by distance, we commit to being together whenever we can.
Bruni also writes, "I’m convinced that family closeness isn’t a happy accident, a fortuitously smooth blend of personalities.
It’s a resolve, a priority made and obeyed." On my brother's birthday he might wish that he was having a party with his friends in New York, but he was having dinner with J. and me. And in a few days we are both going back to the East Coast to spend some times with my sister before she goes to London for a few months. Then in July the whole crew is going to London together. We prioritize family. As Bruni says, our closeness doesn't happen by accident. Like a good marriage, or a strong friendship, or an important career, you have to put in the time. The best thing about family time is that it's my favorite time.
One of the parts of the article that moved me the most is the way the Bruni notes that our siblings are with us throughout our lives in a way that no one else is. We have a limited time with our parents, our spouses, and our friends. But, our siblings knew us as children, they knew us as teenagers, and they will know us as adults. They are there for the long haul, and there is a distinct kind of comfort that comes from being with people who know you in that way. I am my ugliest, most horrible, most bitchy self around my siblings. I am also my funniest, happiest, kindest, and most selfless around them. And they are cool with whatever they get. For better or worse, they keep coming back.
Had we met under other circumstances (like high school), I don't think that four of us would have been friends. We are a veritable Breakfast Club: the jock, the brain, the popular girl, and I guess that makes me that weird arty girl with the dandruff...(Maybe it's not a perfect analogy). We are very different people. But, we are very different people with one thing in common: we'd do anything for each other. Always has been that way, and, because we are all committed, I believe it always will be.
So, this Friday I am thinking about how fabulously lucky I am to be friends with the three awesome people who are my brothers and sister. There's nobody quite like them.