What Siblings Mean to Me

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By Anjali Joshi @theresanjali & online at: theadventuresofanewmom.com

SiblingsI am the middle child. The child that studies often claim is the forgotten one, invisible, and lost amongst her siblings. Except, that isn’t the case for me at all.

Contrary to the stereotype, this middle child is an alpha-female.

My two brothers are not the shadow cast on my being; but, rather, my pillars of support. A tripod, as they say, balances on any surface, under any conditions. That’s how my brothers make me feel. They are the voice of support and encouragement. And, as far as I can remember, they always have been.

They were the kind, reassuring voices that said, “No matter where you are in the world, I will always be there for you,” when I moved across the continent, thousands of kilometers away from loved ones.  They were the overjoyed, ecstatic voice that said, “You are going to be a great mom,” when I announced my pregnancy. They were the confident, calm voices that said, “You are better than that,” when I had the overwhelming urge to quit when the going got tough.  As I grow older, I can see the value in evolving relationships. I have seen the changing dynamics of family, the making and breaking of friendships, and the tying of knots and dissolution of marriages. Through it all, there has been one constant.

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Our siblings are our first friends; playmates, comrades, rivals, and so much more. They are our first opportunity to engage in social interactions. At a very young age, we learn how to settle disagreements, we learn the value in regulating emotions in ways that are socially acceptable, and they are quick to teach us the consequences of being not-so friendly.

And, then, we transition to young adulthood and our siblings begin to momentarily fade in the background. Our egocentric selves leave little room for anyone other than ourselves in our narrow adolescent minds. It isn’t until we are faced with the challenges and heartbreak of the real world – a break-up, a college rejection letter, or a failed exam – that we seek familial support and are welcomed with comfort, support, and encouragement.

Our siblings are that one constant in our lives.

They are the ones you share your home-life with, the ones who know all your ridiculous little quirks and can compile enough embarassing childhood tales to write a book. They have seen the best of you and the worst of you, and accepted you knowing it all.

weddingbrothersWhen the awkward high school days are left behind, we begin to reconnect with our siblings. Differences in age become irrelevant as we are grouped together as being in our ‘early-twenties’ or ‘mid-thirties’. The age gaps begin to lessen as we approach the same level of maturity and emotional age. We continue to confide in one another: about significant others, about careers, and about life decisions.

We don’t worry about being misunderstood or taken out of context. The decades of shared experiences and memories between siblings often deem words unnecessary.


I had a moment of ephiphany during the last moments of my wedding. During the vidai, the ceremonious departure of the bride, I looked back to see my brothers give the car a push as is tradition in many Hindu weddings. The realization that dawned on me that moment has forever left its imprint on my mind. My brothers have been pushing me my whole life, and, today – on this life-changing day – they continue to push me to become a better version of me. With heavy hearts and tear-stained faces, we were mourning the end of our childhood together. But, that moment also marked yet another turning point in my sibling relationship.

 

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Anjali Joshi, Parenting Contributor

The physical distances may have grown as we found life partners, pursued our dreams, and tackled life’s hurdles. But, we stand together stronger than ever. We know in our hearts that we are always there for one another. No matter what life throws at us, we are just a phone call or short plane ride away. There will never be a moment’s hesitation in a time of need.

Today, my siblings have taken on a new role.

They are the beloved Mamus to my son. Again, I have the pleasure to witness another form of sibling love. One that transcends generations and is playful, endearing, and boundless. With daily phone calls, Skype chats, generous gifts, and countless hours of play, they shower their nephew with a pure and authentic love that leaves me simply awe-struck.

One day, I hope to be a mother to siblings. I am certain that watching my children grow together and love one another will bring on a new level of appreciation for this incredible bond. I will be reassured knowing that they will always have one another to love, to tease, to lean on, and to appreciate.

How has your relationship with your siblings evolved over the course of your life?


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