Happy Sibling Day ?

siblingsSo, it’s “Siblings Day”? Never heard of it before. I’m sure my brothers will agree that there are way too many new holidays these days. Must be Hallmark trying to improve sales or something. Sheesh. We can barely keep track of the essential ones. Still, all these posts on Facebook about siblings made me reflect on my relationship with my brothers, and I felt like writing about it a bit. Only one of my brothers is on Facebook. Ironically, he’s the one who until fairly recently was pretty computer illiterate, and I figured he always would be. But, that’s one of the things about brothers. They can surprise you. For example, you can go your whole teenage life thinking that a brother hates you, and then you grow up and realize that they actually always did care.

When I was a kid, it seemed I had one big brother who let me hang out with him, and in the process taught me how to do everything I wasn’t supposed to do. Man, we had some fun though. Then, I had my oldest big brother that would get upset with me for doing those things, and tell on me. Because my oldest brother seemed to love to see me get in trouble and to NOT have fun, I assumed he didn’t like me much. Of course, I was wrong. He was just very protective. I realized that the older I became. When it came down to it, both of my brothers were always there for me, and still are. I always knew that. It’s a good feeling.

Growing up, I was always trying to be one of the boys. Except, I never really was. For starters because nobody was allowed to hurt me. My father would allow my brothers to kill each other – but, they were not allowed to hit me. Of course, they still did sometimes, rarely… but, they sure as hell didn’t let anyone else mess with me. My oldest brother was probably the most protective. He claims this is because he was the one to get in trouble if/when any of us got in trouble. I’ll buy that. The only one more scary-protective of me than my oldest brother was my Dad… and Dad could be pretty scary. After-all, he did regularly say things like, “I’ll rip your arm off and beat you over the head with the bloody end of it!”.

Maybe it was that kind of incentive that made my oldest brother chase after Frankenstein that Halloween. I was only about 6, I think, and some “Frankenstein” threw an egg which happened to hit me. My brother didn’t see it happen.. he just saw me crying, and my lip bleeding, and when he asked me who did it, I said, “Frankenstein”. My oldest brother took off after him while my other brother took care of me. Back in those days, there were a lot of trick-or-treaters, and thus, a lot of Frankensteins – but, that didn’t stop my brother from trying. I think that may have been one of the first times I realized big brothers could be pretty cool. Obviously Frankenstein didn’t know who he was messing with.

There was the time that I was about 10, and playing with a bunch of little kids up the street. I was a bit of a Tom-boy by then, and the game we were playing was “tackle”. It was me against about 8 younger kids. The goal was for them to tackle me and the only rules were no biting or pulling hair. Contrary to the stories I’m sharing here, I actually was usually pretty tough. However, on this day I fell the wrong way, and sort of landed on my face. When I got up, I saw my nose was dripping blood, and I ran home crying. The more blood I saw dripping, hitting the pavement as I ran, the more hysterical I became. I’ll never forget my oldest brother’s face as I ran through our front door. He happened to be there with my father. “What happened?!”, they asked me… but, I was crying so hard that I was having trouble talking, and I half pointed down the street trying to catch my breath. Before I could get a comprehensible word out, my brother said, “I’ll KILL’em!”, and took off out the front door… and I was thinking, “What? No! They are just little kids and it’s not their fault”.. but, it was too late… he was gone. Luckily, he came home seeking clarification before actually beating up any 6 year olds.

It wasn’t just my oldest brother, though, that was protective of me. My other brother, while more likely to let me tag along and do stupid things, was just as much there for me if/when I needed him. I specifically remember one day, I was about 8, and had my hair in a pony tail. I was tagging along with him and a couple of his friends from down the street. My brother started pulling my pony tail. I started getting upset. His friend made the poor decision to join in the fun and pulled my pony tail so hard that my head jerked back, and I fell and started crying. Before I knew it, my brother had this kid pinned down, and was telling me, “go ahead, pull his hair!!”, as he pulled his hair, and asked the kid, “How do YOU like it!??!”… and when the boy said, “but YOU were doing it!!”, my brother said those infamous words that most siblings understand, “yeah, but that doesn’t mean YOU can!! She’s MY sister!! Don’t you touch her!!”.

As I grew older, it wasn’t always fun having big brothers. Sometimes, many times, I thought it sucked. They scared off a couple actual boyfriends, and who knows how many potential boy-friends. And, it wasn’t always just my brothers (and father) looking out for me. Some of my brother’s closest friends also thought of me as their “little sister”. I’ll never forget coming out of the house to find my date to my senior prom literally being shaken and hung upside down by my brother and his friends, two of which were also bouncers. So, yeah… at the time, I wasn’t always so appreciative. Last thing I thought I needed was MORE big brothers. But, as I look back, it’s damn funny, and I’m very appreciative. Besides, I’m sure most of those guys deserved it. I know the one ex-boyfriend who decided to stalk and harass me deserved it. I never even knew until years later why he suddenly stopped. He’s probably still afraid to run into me… =)

Living like this was probably a big part of the reason I always felt a little invincible growing up. Even more invincible than most kids seem to think they are. I was never one to back down from a challenge, and I don’t mean just for actual fights – but, in general. Not that I went looking for trouble. I didn’t. There was always sort of this family motto; “He who starts it, gets it worse”. Maybe, not always the best motto to have, but at least we were taught not to start fights. In the event there was trouble, our parents also taught to do the right thing… not the easy thing… and most importantly, to stick together. Even when we were not together, I still had this sense of security. I did not always think I needed my brothers, and didn’t always want their help. I would tell them, or anyone, that I could take care of myself. I believed it. However, in the back of my head, I also always knew that even when my brothers weren’t around, that they COULD and WOULD be if I called them in a matter of minutes. There’s a real sense of security and even power in that.

Still, while I can’t say the same thing for my brothers, I have only actually been in one real fight in my life. It just happened to be with a guy. I was 19, and I was utterly shocked when, after pouring my beer down his pants (he DID ask for it!), he hit me. Yup. He hit me. Knocked me right down! When I got up, shocked, and went to hit him back, he knocked me down again. It happened so fast. I really couldn’t believe how easily I was knocked down. Lucky for me, by the time I got up the 2nd time, several guys I didn’t know had jumped up and grabbed this jerk. They were holding his arms securely behind his back, and while everyone was screaming and yelling, it dawned on me that nobody was holding me back. I remember saying, “Who the HELL do you THINK you ARE?!?”, as I smacked him upside his head. He obviously didn’t know who he was messing with either. Then the cops came, I pressed charges, had my day in court, blah blah blah… but, that’s not the point. The funny thing was when I went home and told my father what happened. I expected him to flip out and immediately sick my brothers on this guy… but, the first thing he said to me was, “just because your brothers were never allowed to hit you, doesn’t mean that there are not a ton of jerks out there who will not think twice about hitting you! They are bigger and stronger than you, and while it’s not right, they can and will knock you on your ass”. His words floored me all over again. I had to think about it… and then, said, “Well, NOW is a fine time to be telling me this!! Here I was thinking NO ONE was allowed to hit me!!”. LOL Yeah. Reality check.

Now that we are all grown up… and especially now that both our parents have passed away, life has been full of reality checks. Sometimes, reality sucks. Tomorrow we will bury our mother. She passed away Jan 29th. We already had the wake and service weeks ago, but the cemetery she wanted to be buried in didn’t break ground until spring. So, tomorrow, we get to go through all this again, even though it never really ends… Still, tomorrow will suck. Plain and simple. Losing a parent sucks. Losing both, really sucks. But you know what doesn’t suck? Having brothers. Having MY two big brothers is especially cool, but I’m probably partial. While I have lots of family and awesome friends, and some that are like siblings to me – it’s also true that nobody really understands you and where you came from like your actual siblings. It’s special to share so many memories, from our childhoods, as well as adults. Even when we don’t talk – or don’t agree – you can’t change the fact that we are family and all that we’ve been through together. I don’t know what I’d do without them, and all their back-up over the years. I hope they both know that I will always be there for them as well. Maybe, I won’t hang up any of their exes by their ankles and shake them, but I will always be there for them however I can. I can only hope that my own boys will remain as close through the years as my brothers and I have.

I know many are not so lucky, and have lost dear brothers or sisters. Some recently. Some many years ago. My heart goes out to them. I know they think about them every day and while I understand loss, I can only imagine how hard it is to lose a sibling…

So today, as I’m reminiscing and chronicling little pieces of personal history, I mostly want to say “Happy Siblings Day” to my brothers (I’ll be giving them copies of this). I want to officially, and semi-publicly let them know how much I loved growing up with them, how thankful I am for all they’ve done for me over the years, and how happy I am that we are all still in each others lives. Love you both!! (…Ya big jerks ;).

6 Comments to “Happy Sibling Day ?”

  1. Thanks for sharing some background. I never knew about this day either. It does sound like a Hallmark “fundraiser.” Yet, I enjoy anything that celebrates family. Maybe most people do. I love reading about sibling relationships since my own sister died when I was very young. It’s always kind of mysterious to me. It is nice to have someone left after your parent go. I’m sorry you’ve lost both.

    Most enjoyable post.

    • Thanks for the read, Jamie. Always good to hear your thoughts. Sorry to hear about your sister, and thank you for your condolences as well. I look around at me friends, and many of them have both parents and/or siblings still. I listen to them complain about them… a lot… and, I think – “you are going to miss that someday!”… but, I guess it’s hard to really understand until you have been in that situation. I just wanted to reflect and be thankful a little now for my brothers… You never know when your time is up.

  2. sorry to hear about your mother…hope you are well and that you enjoyed your siblings day…I still have all my sibling although I dont speak to one of my sisters….after reading this….maybe I will try….thanks

    • hi Summer…. I obviously don’t know the reasons… and while I’m sure they may be good and plentiful… I do hope you and your sister can make up. It truly saddens me when I see family that has given up on each other… but, I also can understand that sometimes, it’s inevitable… or even for the best if a relationship is truly toxic. Sometimes, it’s best to let some things go rather than let people go all together. Of course, it takes two… and is easier said than done, I know.

  3. Great post sounds like your family are really close and your tales of protection made me smile, funny thing about guys and our mates sisters, we do seem to feel protective over them, like our own.

    Sorry to read of your loss though.

    Strange but as I grew our family was very dis functional, love was a black eye and so early on I bolted, university was my escape. Yet over the last few years, my brothers and sister, we have all become close, it’s a different kind of bond we share, but it’s deep and burns, though we don’t have stories of happy childhood days, like yours we have something else, my sister has now two small children and we all watch over them, they will never see the horror that we saw, we ensure the mistakes of yesterday our parents made and never repeated in the innocence of tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing your memory’s, really was a great read.

    • Duma – thank you.. and thank you for your thoughts. I’m sorry you went through so much… but, I’m at least glad your siblings and you have survived and become close in spite of it all. I’m sure your going through so much together, things only your siblings could/would truly understand, has made you all stronger together. What a gift to your families children, to be able to put an end to any negative cycles, and instead make sure some histories do not repeat.

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