What I have learned from my siblings

I grew up the oldest and only girl of three children. My younger brothers are twins, four and a half years younger than me. We were typical siblings who squabbled in an attempt to assert dominance over each other, but who also fiercely protected one another from anyone outside our family.

First or last, we all get a turn

We spent all summer long out on Buckeye Lake where we grew up. We fished, boated, and participated in every water sport that existed. Each trip out on dad’s ski boat started with an argument over who would get to go first. The first water of the day was a treat for a skier because it was so calm, skis glided over the water and it felt like you were flying. I grew tired of the constant argument and one day just decided that I would go last.

The first time I refused to participate in the argument it took my brothers by surprise. They paused for about 2 seconds before launching into the reasons (rather lack thereof) of why they should get to go first. Often this argument turned into trash talk of why one brother was better than the other. Neither would back down and dad always had to get involved to finally decide in what order we would ski.

Meanwhile, I sat back and enjoyed the gentle rocking of the boat, the stillness of the lake, and the blue heron along the shore.

Best friends or not, we are family

Having twins for brothers always gave me the feeling of the odd man out. I was the oldest, the only girl, and I was alone while they always had each other.  I yearned to break into their circle, but some bonds you just can’t recreate. There really is something special about the bond of twins.

As we grew into adults and we stumbled along our paths each time when we fell, the three of us came together. I realized that while I may never be as close as they are to each other, no one else would ever be closer to my brothers than I was. I love them more than any friend ever could. I may not be a twin, but I am a sister and that’s another relationship you cannot recreate.

Show up

Learning from my siblings did not stop in childhood. As adults, they continue to teach me valuable lessons.

Bryan has taught me the importance of showing up, he never misses anything. If something happens, here is there. Friend or family, he will drop everything he is doing and help. He may not greet you with a smile, but he will never let you down.

Let kids be kids

Watching Butch with his three kids has taught me the value of letting kids be adventurous, messy, and outside. He is a fun dad who defies any gender typing with his two daughters, raising them to follow their curiosity.

Some relationships are stronger than distance

My sister and I grew up states apart from each other sharing a few summers together spattered among our adolescents. It was when we had both grown into adults that we forged a strong relationship. We are separated by more miles now than we have ever been, but we are closer than ever as well. The physical distance doesn’t seem to matter.

DNA and birth order contribute a great deal to personality

It’s uncanny how similar my sister and I are. I have never been able to figure out if that’s due to DNA or birth order, as we are both the oldest children and the only girl of the families we were raised in. When we first began to rediscover each other I was blown away at the number of interests and beliefs we share. Both of us being introverts leads to sporadic communication devoid of all small talk, just deep meandering contemplations.

Explore

Lynelle’s intelligence, kindness, and curiosity captivate me, but what I have learned from her is to explore. She has been to more places as a young adult than I will probably see my whole life through. Her explorations lend her a depth of knowledge and compassion that are not attainable any other way. With a small pack, she walks the side alleys avoiding tourist destinations seeking out the genuine culture of the foreign land she is in. What better way to empathize, to understand, to relate to others? I can think of none.

I am grateful for my brothers and sister. They have taught me so much more than the few simple lessons contained herein and I look forward to the adventures that await us in the future.

As my sons grow I delight in watching them teach each other. I nurture the importance of love and respect telling them they will be friends for the rest of their lives no matter where life takes them.

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