Siblings close now; siblings close later?

My brother is starting his ninth week at the hospital. He spent almost eight weeks in the ICU and was just moved to a regular hospital room on Tuesday. I have spent a lot of time at the hospital this summer, more some weeks than others, but always trying to help when I can.

Nurses and friends have made odd, yet nice comments, saying what a good sister I am. They say they don’t know very many sisters that would be there like that for their brothers.

And it makes me wonder: Could that be true? Would a sibling who lived close by really not help their brother or sister at the hospital?

Rose and Walsh and Lilina are all so close now — doing so much together from playing to bathing (not Rose and Walsh), to cuddling up in the same bed — that I can’t imagine them not being there for each other as adults.

There are so many shared sibling experiences. Only your brothers and sisters know what growing up in your house was like. Only they know the idiosyncrasies of your parents, and how you ended up the way you are. They get you long before a spouse even meets you.

At this age, if someone were to pick on Rose or Walsh I know the other would jump in and stand up for their sibling. And God bless the poor kid that picks on their baby sister because neither one of them would have it!

My brother was like that for me when we were little. He defended me at the bus stop, at summer camp, and in high school. He would let me tramp through the woods with him and his friends when we were little. He let me go out with him on Friday nights in high school after football games and he even let me tag along to fraternity parties when I was still in high school. He brought his friends to UGA to visit me when I did start college.

We’ve had our share of rivalries through the years, but that all seems washed away now.

Now that he’s in a private room, we need a family member with him 24/7. He had to have a tracheotomy so he can’t talk yet (above a whisper), and he can’t walk yet (his muscles are completely gone after two months in bed).  This week I will be his night nurse and sleep at the hospital. (His wife is teaching school so she has to be fresh in the mornings and we don’t want my mom sleeping in a chair – or even a couch.) I am enjoying my time with him so much – watching movies and just talking. And I don’t mind helping the nurse with his bed pan, lifting him in the bed or feeding him his crushed up meds. I’m happy to be of some help to my big brother, and I can’t imagine other sibs not helping each other in the same manner.

What do you think: Were you close to your siblings as children? Are you close now? Would you help your sib at the hospital, paint a house, babysit their kids? What are factors in helping sibs stay close through the years?

46 comments Add your comment

momtoAlex&Max

August 20th, 2009
7:07 am

You know the reverse might be true as well. My sister and I did not get along when we were young. We are only 2 and half years apart and there was a lot of jealousy growing up, mostly from me.

But as we got older we got closer than ever. Right now we are very close friends and always there for each other. She adores my kids and I adore hers. I know we will be there for each other for years to come.

JJ

August 20th, 2009
7:51 am

My brother and I fought like cats and dogs when we were around 12-15…..Now we are close. There is NOTHING I wouldn’t do for him, and vice versa. He comes over and helps me around my house, he is only a phone call away.

However, we both are busy raising our kids, working, etc, and we both take care of our Mother. We don’t talk as often as I would like, but we do talk at least once a week, and catch each other up on the kids……

I couldn’t imagine not living close to him. We have always lived within 20 miles of each other. Even when our parents moved to another state, we were here and close by each other.

I feel bad for families that are spread out all over the country/world. I could not imagine only seeing my family once or twice a year.

FCM

August 20th, 2009
8:13 am

I think it depends on how much effort the sibs put into it as they get older. My brother and I live on opposite sides of the country. We are not close, and have said if we were not sibs we would not be friends, but we are family, and that means if one calls the other answers. We love each other, care about each other, and want the best.

I think many sibs would not spend as much time at the hospital with their sib as you have. That doesn’t make you right or wrong in it. It makes you — Theresa. You do whats best for you & yours, and let the rest just talk.

Many blessings to you!

rj

August 20th, 2009
8:22 am

Enter your comments here

Becky

August 20th, 2009
8:25 am

We fought like cats and dogs as kids also..Or at least the ones that were all at home at the same time..My oldest sister married when I was 2 years old, so no fighting there..Out of 10 kids, I only have one brother and one sister that I don’t talk to (or see) regular..I have a sister in KY. and the oldest one lives in VA..I talk to one or both of them every day..

The reason for not talking to or seeing the one brother and sister is they chose a life that included drugs and booze..I don’t have problems with anyone drinking or heck smoking pot for that matter if they want to, I just don’t think that you should let it take over your life..

Theresa, I’m so glad to hear that your brother is doing better..It was two year ago last week that my sister had a anyersuim (sp) and yes I was at the hospital with her everyday that she was there..The night that my brother in law called me to say that they were at the hospital, it only took me 20 minutes to dress, brush my teeth and make it from Douglasville to Smyrna..When they transferred her to Atlanta Medical, I was there with her for 30 straight hours..

RJ

August 20th, 2009
8:27 am

I have two brothers. One is 2 1/2 years younger. We’re definitely closer. I would do anything for him because i love him. the other is 8 years younger. We’re not as close, but I love him and would do anything that he needed. I never really fought with my brothers, but my kids fight like cats and dogs. But I always remind them that they are to take care of each other…always. I particularly remind my son even though he’s younger. Actually, they love each other to death, and from time to time will show affection.

I would definitely do what you’re doing. Family first.

motherjanegoose

August 20th, 2009
8:31 am

I love both of my sisters. I am the oldest and my next sister is 2 1/2 years younger than me and lives in Wisconsin. My “baby” sister who is 13 years younger than me and will be 37 is right here in the metro. She moved here because we lived here and has been here now for 18 years.

My closer in age sister and I are not as close as I wish we were. We talk on the phone at least every few weeks….she called me yesterday. We were in the same town in college ( but at two different colleges) and rarely saw each other. Whenever I have a business trip in the area, I try to add a day to the trip and invite her to come and spend the night with me. She often does. I did this in October and January. Right after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we both flew up from Atlanta to be with her. She is great now and that is a huge answer to prayer and a blessing. She just moved into a different house and I am hoping to be able to visit her soon. We are far from each other and that has mostly always been the case since we have been married.

My youngest sister is very close to our entire family. She will be the only family member joining us for our son’s ceremony today. She has always been there for my children and really treats them as her own…she has not married yet and does not have children. She calls my daughter all the time and we joke that my daughter takes her aunt’s opinion over her old fashioned mother’s ideas She told my son ( when he left for college) that if he ever got into any trouble or situations and did not want to call us…he could call her at any time and she would go and get him and not ask any questions. To my knowledge, this did not happen but it was generous of her. Her dog is even close to my dog and spends time with us….he loves it at our house but all the hullabaloo wears him out as it is just him and my sister at their apartment.

My own children are 5 years apart. A boy and a girl. They were not especially close when they were little but it is sweet now when my son will take my daughter to a movie or out to dinner.
He started doing this after he left for college and she would be excited to tell me that he came home ( while I was gone at a meeting) and took her out.

Some folks say that children of the same sex are closer…I do not know.

Theresa, enjoy your children and their unique bond…I hope they will always adore each other and protect the baby!

motherjanegoose

August 20th, 2009
8:39 am

Theresa….I also admire that fact that you are so dedicated to your brother. You are in my prayers.
I could not be that close to my sister, when she had cancer, due to the distance and my family/work commitments. To me, this is why it is important to have very close friends who will help you out if you are away from your family. She does and I do too.

One thing I do want to mention, is that when our neighbor had cancer her church family each got a square of fabric and they wrote a Bible verse on it and a few words of encouragement. Then someone sewed the entire thing into a quilt and they put that over her after the surgery. She knew she was covered in LOVE and the time and care of all of those folks. When we went to see her and I saw the quilt, it brought tears to my eyes. A wonderful memory for me and her too!

JJ

August 20th, 2009
8:42 am

Oh and YES I would be there for my brother like Theresa is for hers. If he was in the hospital, I would be there as much as I could.

He’s my brother and I love him. Family first!!!!

Belle

August 20th, 2009
8:46 am

My sister and I are 5 years apart, I’m the baby. We got along pretty well in the fact that we could be mean to each other but if someone else tried it, heaven help them. There were spells of fighting and jealousy but we still would see each other at least weekly. I babysat her kids, etc…

I moved away 10 yrs ago and we were a little distant but still visited and sent email. When our parents died we became each others life line. We email at least 20 times a day and call at least 3 times a week. She was with me when I had a baby and both our families get together for vacations and visits. I don’t know what I would do with out her.

My children are 2 yrs apart and I hope they will be as close as I am with my sister.

Andrea

August 20th, 2009
8:49 am

I fought with my brother (2 years older than me) constantly growing up. But, now, as we are much older, we get along great. It seems like we all got closer once we became adults. There are five of us and if anything happened to any one of them, I would be there no questions asked. Also, I KNOW without a doubt they would be there for me.

It is unfortunate that some people would not be there for his/her sibling as you (Theresa) have been for yours. It is what it is and that’s just life. I do know people that may visit but would not keep a constant presence. That is a very sad reality.

I think the main thing that helps us to stay close is that we put forth the effort to do so. Sure, sometimes we all get on each other’s nerves and we have to step away but we also always come back together. Anything you truly want, you will make an effort to have or get. If you want a great relationship with your sibling, you will put forth the effort to make that happen – in my humble opinion.

Eric

August 20th, 2009
9:23 am

Interesting question… I am 6 years apart from my sibling and I think that factors into the relationship that we dont have. We live maybe 45 minutes away from eachother and havent made plans to do anything ever. I think that coming from a divorced household where I still had relationships with both parents and she chose sides and pretends that one doesn’t exist has a big impact on our relationship as well. Its weird… I know I should love her but I really dont think of her much or have many good memories. I might sound like a bad person but I’m not, I dedicate time to the community and have many good friends that have been there for me when I needed someone but I dont ever see having a relationship with my sibling and I have come to accept that.

motherjanegoose

August 20th, 2009
9:28 am

@Andrea….you are correct about putting forth an effort. When family members live over 1000 miles away, this can be difficult due to finances, jobs, children and other responsibilities. I do not know how you can stay at someone’s bedside that lives that far away for a month or more….just leave your job and family and take off. It is admirable but do many folks ( with children at home) do this?

Theresa, if your brother were in Oklahoma ( for example) could you just pack up and go?

Perhaps I am the one who is not as committed as I should be. My sister was not here for either of my children’s births but I did not go when she had her children either. My own mother did not come for my son’s birth…her first grandchild.

Jeff

August 20th, 2009
9:32 am

T and her sister are extremely close – they’ve pretty much always lived within a dozen miles of each other, and when T and I first met her sister was her roommate in the house that T owned (that we now live in). When T had a major surgery shortly after we met (and about 2 weeks before I gave her the first ring), her sister was there quite a bit, though it was her mother and I that pretty well lived at the hospital. (Even though I was living in Warner Robbins at the time and working in Macon, while she was at the hospital I would drive back and forth to from downtown Albany to Macon every day. Interesting couple of weeks there.. )

My two brothers and I are pretty close. They’ve both gone or are going to KSU as well, and both are still living in Cartersville with mom and dad (youngest turns 19 next week). Only time any of us have ever been in the hospital for any length of time so far was when me and the middle bro were pretty well trashed from a car wreck where I very nearly got the two of us killed – youngest bro had a couple of cuts, but I was in the hospital for about 72 hrs or so, middle bro was there for a week. I was there as much as mom and dad would let me, but at that point I had my own recuperating to do.

But here’s where I see a different dynamic, to a degree: Dad’s siblings are not what you would typically call “close” – as in, we rarely talk to any of them and basically see them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But if any of them has a major problem – for example, one aunt lost part of her leg to diabetes a few years ago, and another was in the hospital for something for quite a while that she still struggles with – they are ALL there. All 8 of them!

Professor

August 20th, 2009
9:34 am

I am really close to my little brother, in fact I wanted a brother so bad when I went to school (it seems like everyone had a brother but me) that I prayed for one. He arrived nine years later and we are very close.

Michelle

August 20th, 2009
9:36 am

Family dynamics help shape us early, but as we age, it’s up to us to make of our relationships what we want! My childhood was interesting. We had a his, hers, and ours family! There was things that if all of us could go back and change we would (siblings and parents). However, The 4 oldest kids were stepping stones in age (39, 40, 41, 41 now) with the other 2 (36, 33).

My only true brother and I both moved from home right after high school and have stayed gone. I only moved “far” away 5 years ago. Everyone else has stayed within about 30 minutes of home.

We are MUCH closer now as adults than children. One thing that changed the family dynamics was when my youngest brother was in a pretty significant car accident. It showed how fragile life can be. But the one that had the single most impact was when the brother (who would be 36) got cancer and died within 6 months. That has forever changed our family.

I also have 3 siblings that grew up with my mom (I lived with my dad). Our relationship is much different. I didn’t see them much growing up (or now for that matter), but I have a strong bond with them. This is the reason that I moved “far” away from my family. I wanted my son to grow up close to his brothers. They are all fiercly protective of one another and their kids!

Sorry, I’m having trouble putting coherent thougths together this morning! If my siblings lived close by, I would ABSOLUTELY be up the hospital as much as possible! And, if my friends were in the hospital, it would be the same. When my brother was sick towards the end, I took a few extra days to spend time at the hospital and with my family. We knew the end was near. My oldest sister actually had a hospice room set up in her house.

I went through some stages of feeling alienated from my family (long story, another blog)! Now I wish I could turn back time and be more involved.

Life and family is what you make of it and put into it! It’s funny, my BFF, bought me a plane ticket to come home for my birthday (pretty awesome huh)! I let my family know so we can plan some time with all of them! She will probalby be overwhelmed! She only has 1 brother! I have a BUNCH! It’s going to be great!!!

Andrea

August 20th, 2009
9:46 am

@Motherjanegoose: You are right in that proximity makes it easier to be there. Our family is not wealthy but we do sacrafice. When my daughter was born, I lived in suburban Chicago, with no family there. My family staggered the help. She was a twin but we lost the other one, so my family came in stages. My sister came first. When she left, she took my son back to Georgia with her and then my mom came. My brother came when I was preparing to move back to Georgia to help with getting all of my stuff together. My other sister came after my mom. My oldest sister was not in a financial position to come so she kept my son in Georgia until I came back.

I say all of this to say that while none of my siblings could take off work for the duration of my sickness, the family can still offer support in varying ways. It was helpful to me to know my son was with my oldest sister. She couldn’t come but her contribution in caring for him was immeasurable in my book.

Becky

August 20th, 2009
9:51 am

@Eric, I know just where you are with your sister..As I said, I have one sister that I guess I love her because she is my sister, but I sure don’t like her..When we were younger, we were close and did jsut about everything together, then as I said earlier,she chose a life of drugs and booze..Then when she had children, she used them to get what she could from the government system..

Jeff, sorry for the lateness of this, but in response to what you said eariler this week(??), good luck to you and T with all of the baby process..I’ll keep y’all in my thoughts and prayers…

New Step Mom

August 20th, 2009
9:59 am

My brother and I are VERY close. We were corporate gypsies growing up and moved several times. There were always those first few weeks in a new place where he and I were each other’s only friend. We fought like cats and dogs at times, but God bless the person that messed with one of us, because we would defend each other to the death.

As adults, we are very close and see each other fairly often (he and SIL live in AL) and talk a couple of times a week. I have also become very close with my SIL and I consider that to be a huge blessing.

If my brother were sick, I would move heaven and earth to do anything I could to help. He would do the same for me too. We are very fortunate to have had parents that did not expect perfection, but expected us to be good people. Our parents never played favorites and were always consistent with rules and punishment and I think that has helped make us close in adulthood.

motherjanegoose

August 20th, 2009
10:18 am

yes Jeff…sending good wishes and prayers your way….

DB

August 20th, 2009
10:35 am

My brother is 13 years younger than I am (due to my mom’s fertility problems) and my parents often comment that they raised “two separate families.” Once I got my license and was able to take him to the store with me, to a movie, etc., people sometimes made the mistake of thinking he was my son (much to my discomfort). Obviously, we didn’t have a lot in common — I was starting college when he was starting kindergarten! He had a lot more trouble navigating through adolescence than I did, never finished college (but had a hell of a good time!) and ended up marrying a lot quicker than he had probably planned to when his then-girlfriend became pregnant. Luckily, his wife is an absolutely wonderful woman who straightened him out pretty quickly, and they have a lovely family today. But we’re not close. They live four states away, so it’s not as though we spend a lot of time in each other’s lives — they have only visited me twice in Atlanta in the last 17 years, and before the kids headed off to college, I usually only made it home about twice a year.

I know that if I ever NEEDED him, he’d be there, and the same for him. It’s just that we aren’t the first person either of us would ever think of if we needed help. I don’t know the details of their lives, because he doesn’t like email or talking on the phone, and his wife has a demanding job. What I know about his family, I know from talking to my mom each week, who lives about 15 minutes away from them and is always going to swim meets, soccer games, etc., etc. I often wonder what will happen to us when my parents are no longer with us — I can’t see him making any effort.

Jess

August 20th, 2009
10:39 am

If my one sbling was in the hospital for an extended time and if she lived close, i would do my best to visit often, that said, I have a job and family of my own to take care of so I probably couldn’t be there at the hospital all the time!

Not Close

August 20th, 2009
10:54 am

Was really close with my brother and sister when we were kids – played together all the time. After we started high school we fell into our own group of friends and saw less and less of each other. Now I see my brother once a year at Christmas and my sister less than that as she’s halfway around the world. We just don’t keep up with each other. I think my brother’s on Facebook, but I don’t think my sister is and I’m not. Email is a rare occurrence too. But we all have a good time and have fun when we do see each other. We just all have our own lives now.

Jeff

August 20th, 2009
10:58 am

Thanks for the well wishes Becky and MJG and anyone else I missed. 20 hrs of IMPACT training this weekend… fun!

T actually set up a blog on my site as a way to update friends/family on our journey. If any of you want the link, email me at southwestgalibertarian@gmail.com

Jeff

August 20th, 2009
11:00 am

NotClose: I’ve actually found FB to be a decently good way to keep track of family – when they bother to update it. For example, my brothers and mom are all on FB, as are various cousins and one aunt on my dad’s side. I’ve actually talked to them/heard news from them more in the past year or two than I had in the previous 25 years!

Not Close

August 20th, 2009
11:12 am

Yeah, FB is good for keepin in touch…but I’m not really sure I want to. I’m not really interested in keeping up with old friends…and not sure I want to broadcast my life to family as we’ve grown apart so much. We’re all kind of private and really don’t know each other that well any more.

Michelle

August 20th, 2009
11:59 am

Hi…Theresa, I posted a long time ago, but it hasn’t shown up (which is not normal)!

Jeff, I use FB a lot to keep up with family! Most of my family lives back in Indiana, so this is a good way for us to share pictures, updates, etc. It’s actually brought us closer I think! I talked with my neices and nephews on occasion too!

Not Close, it seems to me as if you are intentially staying distant. Sometimes when you don’t make an effort, it is perceived as if you are the one who doesn’t care or doesn’t want to be bothered! It’s not easy though to put yourself out there either.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 20th, 2009
12:08 pm

I just got back Michelle – i will go in and look for it.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 20th, 2009
12:35 pm

Hey Guys — I’m looking for a Fun Friday topic for tomorrow — you can throw out ideas here or email me at ajcmomania@gmail.com — Let me know what you think???

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 20th, 2009
12:36 pm

Found it Michelle – you and a bunch of real spam –

DB

August 20th, 2009
1:09 pm

Another vote for FB! I am, by no means, a FB-aholic — I may go several days without checking it — but we keep up with my husband’s side of the family almost exclusively through FB these days! I am FB friends with all my nieces and nephews on my husband’s side, and even my SIL and my MIL! We’ve found that it’s absolutely the best way to exchange photos of events in our lives, since we live 300 miles away. My daughter said it was the oddest day of her life when not only her mother, but her grandmother sent her a “friend request” on FB on the same day! That’s how I keep up with what my kids are doing at school, too — although they freely admit that there are some pictures that get “untagged” pretty quickly, or are put on a pretty restricted “eyes only” list :-) FB has been great for keeping up with friends around the country and around the world.

NotClose, there’s only as much of your life on FB as you put on it. I have some friends who put the stupidest stuff out there — I mean, honestly, do NOT whine to me that you don’t want to do laundry — NOBODY wants to do laundry! You can share as much as you want — or as little as you want.

JJ

August 20th, 2009
1:20 pm

I’m a FB Junkie!!! It’s a great way to keep up with friends and family. PLUS I have found a bunch of friends from my past…….

Denise

August 20th, 2009
1:48 pm

My brother is 4.5 years younger than I am and I love him more than anyone else. Because our parents married and divorced…and married and divorced…we were each other’s constants. I feel like I helped raise him. He says he thinks so too. He’s almost 32, married and has 3 kids, but I still see him as my little brother. He is not doing well financially and it kills me but I have long since stopped sending large checks (or paying bills directly since neither he nor his wife are good with money) just because. (Hell, I NEED it for myself now.) I have to let him grow up. However, if something happened with him or his family, I’d walk to Louisiana if I had to. For some reason I am trying my best to move closer to home (anyone have any contacts in Houston?) since I’ve been away from home (8 hours) for 18 years. It would be hard for me to stay away if he was in the hospital. I couldn’t be as good to him as Theresa is to her brother because of the distance but it would kill me. I’d end up driving up and down the road every weekend. And I believe he’d be there for me as well….Now I feel like I need to call my brother just to hear his voice. :-)

Jeff

August 20th, 2009
2:09 pm

Theresa:

Maybe Social Networking and the Family? For example, I know of at least two couples that talk to each other even via twitter! (One of my good friends and his wife, and two well known ATL bloggers)

Michelle

August 20th, 2009
2:26 pm

Thanks Theresa! Mabye it was my extra wordiness today! Just call me MJG for the day! LOL! (I am poking fun by the way, not being mean!)

I like Jeff’s idea for tomorrow! That seems like it could be a fun topic! Maybe, who the person on Facebook or MySpace that you were surprised to find?!

Stan

August 20th, 2009
2:53 pm

I’m closer to my sibs now than when I was a kid. I’m the youngest by 8 years so my 2 bros and 1 sis were well ahead of me so in a lot of ways it was more like being an only child.

FB is esp great for my wife with her family in AL (now that they got the internet over there). She is “meeting” nephews and neices she has never really known before. For me I’m friends with a fair number of folks…but all they do is send me Mafia war invites grr.

Layla

August 20th, 2009
3:06 pm

My sib and I are 5 1/2 years apart (he’s older) He liked me until I was about 5 and started following him all over the place when his friends were over. We pretty much hated each other from then until one of us moved out of the house. But he would defend me against anyone else. Now we get along very well. We don’t talk on the phone much, but mostly because we have different schedules. We live in different states, so we don’t get to see each other much, but it’s fun when we do. FB has also made it easier to keep in touch, not only with him, but other relatives that I don’t see much but have gotten closer to. I admit, I spend WAAAAY too much time on it! Drat those games!

Not Close

August 20th, 2009
4:08 pm

FB is just not for me I guess. I guess I don’t have much interest in finding old friends or broadcasting my life to others… I also wouldn’t really want to re-connect with my brother or sister this way…
I know I’m out of the norm as most people are on twitter/fb/etc and want to keep in constant communication with everyone.

Becky

August 20th, 2009
4:11 pm

Like others even if we fought as kids, we were there for each other no matter what..I have 1 older brother and 1 older sister that put some neighborhood kids up to pushing another brother and sister off of a bicycle one time..Needless to say another brother and sister beat the daylights out of the neighborhood kids before they found out that they had been put up to doing that..Made for a great friendship for all of them after that..

fk

August 20th, 2009
7:47 pm

I am one of ten. My older sisters are 8, 10, & 11 years my senior. We are all close, but not as I was growing up. My older sisters were close growing up, but did not travel in the same social groups until they were out of high school. I have a brother who is 2 years younger than me, and we have always been very close. If he had been a girl, he would have been my maid of honor at my wedding. Things are different now, I got married in the 80s. We are still close, but do not see each other often, even though he lives in NC. He calls me and I call him. We email a lot and there’s always fb.

I have four older brothers. The oldest are 12 & 13 years older than me. They were awesome “big” brothers. I am still close with them and their wives, actually with all of their wives, except my younger brother’s. She’s very different from us, really into her horses and animals, rather than people. And, that’s fine. It’s like we just can’t find common ground. Nothing to dislike, just no common denominator other than my brother. And, it’s not me, but all of my sisters and sisters-in-law. Actually, one of my bros. is divorced, but his ex is still very much part of the family.

I am closer now than I ever was with the two bros. that are 5 & 6 years older than me. Seriously, they were they babies till I came along, and I think there was resent towards me during their childhood years. I also have a younger sister. She has the most amazing trait to find friends and SOs with issues, recovering addicts, pathological liars, etc. She is now engaged to a guy who is such a loser…unable to hold a job tops the list. It’s hard to be happy for her when it seems she is making the biggest mistake in her life. Try to be supportive, but it’s not easy. She has pulled away from all of us in varying degrees, but still is very open with two of my sisters-in-law, which is good. BUT, it’s sad.

The older siblings have grown children, some grandchildren. They are all having a great time, they vacation at least 2x a year together. The next generation of cousins are also close. It’s an amazing thing to watch. My parents were close with their siblings, so I think it was “natural” that we would become closer as we aged. And, we see our cousins, too. Life is good :)

Theresa — Glad to hear your brother was moved to his own room. That is progress. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

catlady

August 20th, 2009
8:14 pm

My children were close (not in age, but in every other way) and I think they are even closer now (in 20s and 30s) than they were then. Thank God! As an only child, I always wanted a sibling to be close to.

Teresa, I am wondering why the commenting closed so early last night? I would have liked to encourage those wondering about your question to look at 3 books: Promises I can Keep (about why poor women choose parenthood before marriage), How the Poor Get to College (what can help the most unlikely poor folks get additional education), and Nickled and Dimed (about what minimum wage life is like.) Each of those would give some important perspective to most of us who have led rather middle class lives.

Tiffany

August 20th, 2009
10:54 pm

I’d like to add to the facebook topic…has anyone ever looked up old boyfriends/girlfriends? Would you tell your spouse about it, or keep it a secret? What do you say to your former love after all those years? What if you found out that you still kind of had feelings for them? Some of my friends do this a lot…even meeting up with these people for lunch, ect. Most of these people are now happily- or so they say- married with kids. I feel a little hesitant about it myself.
Theresa- I wish my own sister was as nice as you are! Good luck to your brother.

misawa

August 20th, 2009
10:58 pm

My brother and I are best friends (2 and 1/2 yrs apart). Getting along with our younger sister is a real chore (5 yrs younger than me). When my brother went to live with our dad (after the divorce) it crushed me… and apparently our mom, too, who agreed to let me go live with dad before I was legally allowed to choose. Our sister stayed with our mom. I’m sure that had a good bit to do with it, but the relationship with my sister has been rocky all along. When we make the pilgrimage back home now she rarely comes around, even though she still lives with my mom. Now that being said, when she had her baby, I went down there – it’s just what you do. The difference is my brother could call me and tell me he needed me and I’d start packing a bag without blinking an eye; my sister could say the same thing and I’d ask twenty questions – I’d still probably go, but I’d grumble the whole way.

Tig

August 21st, 2009
8:46 am

My sister is 6 1/2 years younger than me, so that plus the fact that after our parents divorced I moved in with my dad when I was 14 and she doesn’t remember us ever living in the same house has really kept us from being as close as I wish she and I could be. We still talk from time to time and get along without any problems, we’re just not that close but I know that we would be there for each other in a heartbeat if an appropriate situation arose.

AKALady

August 21st, 2009
9:49 am

My brother & I are 5 yrs apart in age (I’m the oldest). Growing up, we did typical sibling things…we argued, played, loved each other, disliked each other, but I always tried to protect him & he looked up to me. As he approached teen yrs, we became closer than as kids, but we still argued, loved, & disliked each other at times. No matter what, we always knew that we had each others backs. On Christmas Eve 08, we had a huge fall out & haven’t spoken since then, although we sent each other b’day cards this year. I even texted him to see how his b’day was going. Last Friday, I had to have outpatient surgery & needed someone to care for me 24 hrs after being released. My brother was there for me. No matter what…we’ve always loved each other…we’re family. We were raised in a loving family & were taught to take care of each other. If I can’t rely on friends or even a spouse one day…I know I have my baby brother.

anon

August 22nd, 2009
7:57 pm

My sister and I are 11 years apart, and close. My husband and his brother are 18 months apart and not very close. I think some of it is how important family is to your family. My parents always expected me to do things with them as a family, and there was no arguing….going to church and going to eat after church, family activites, traveling (we have both now been to all 50 states, together for probably all but 5 of them) my sister coming to my activities (a 2 year old at a middle school dance is fun!), and me going to her activities…(11 years of dance recitals…finally done). I don’t see this same expectation with my husband and his brother. They see each other probably 5-6 times a year. FB is great for keeping up with extended family too!