A Real Oktoberfest!
In honor of my siblings and because October is the month three of them have their birthdays, within a week of each other, I wanted to write a little homage to the best brothers and sister a person could ever want or need. My family’s made up of three brothers and two sisters spanning nineteen years. In this order it’s Larry, Patricia (me), Donald, Ronnie (aka Edward) and Polly. The last three share October birthdays ... the 7th, 12th, 15th ... with just a five year span.
Usually, when we celebrated their birthdays, Mother and Daddy (with a twinkle in his eye) would frequently say “Farmers didn't have a lot to do in the winter and they had to stay warm, right.” In fact all of us were conceived from January - March. So, I guess you could say it's proof that farmers do know how to plant and grow things, even when it's cold outside.
Brothers & Sisters - A Close Bunch
A Special Connection
Over the years, I’m now 62; I've talked to many folks about their siblings. Some can’t stand being around each other or they are always bickering and complaining about one another. Others never even bother staying in contact with one another. And then some are together all the time and can’t function or make decisions without the input from each other.
I would have to say, we are a special blend of closeness but often from a distance. We can always count on each other to come to our aid whenever the needs arise and be there if at all possible for important events. We cherish our family gatherings together. And even when we're not we each other physically, we are still in touch ... emotionally.
So many countless things make up these special people in my life. From their delightful sense of humor, their flair for adventure, their love and sincerity to their uncanny call when you’re just …having a bad week.
A few days ago, I got a call from baby brother, Ronnie. In his work he is often out of town for very long periods of time and puts in long, hard days. He's one of those early to rise and to bed types and I'm a night owl. So, we don’t talk much on the phone. This week I've been sick with the “sinus junk” and really feeling lousy. I had just got in the house after working (wishing all day I was home in bed), got my jammies on and Ronnie called. Now, I've probably not talked with him in two months. He says, “Hey Sis, you've been on my mind for couple days now and wanted to just check in on you and see how you’re doing.” I almost cried, for I needed his long distance soft touch and that familiar voice. Could have used his hugs too but that’s not so easy over the phone. After thirty minutes when we hung up, my head was still stuffy, but the rest of me felt better. What a great warm fuzzie to end my day with!
Change Always Happens
I've often said “the only thing in life that’s certain is Change”. The same is true for the relationship I have with the brothers and sister. When we were kids, we played together and often fought with each other. There’s always the hierarchy of siblings. Older ones sometimes get dealt more responsibility and the younger ones often are given more leniency. And we won’t even touch on the so called “middle child” thing. Of course, each know how to take full advantage of those differences too.
All that seems to be more evident ... when your children. When everyone is finally all grown up those lines seem to fade some and the difference in age doesn't seem much of a big deal anymore.
As young adults, we all got wrapped up in starting families. When I was 29 years old my marriage came to an end. I had two young boys and was all of sudden facing issues I had no idea how to handle.
My two younger brothers were there for anything I needed. They were ready to whip up (and they are not violent men at all) on the ex for the way he treated me. Seems, I was always moving, for the first 3-4 years anyway. It got to be when their phone rang they answered it with “So where are we going this time, Sis? "Not another upstairs apartment, please.” Then we would arrange when and where and they were at my door with their trucks and strong backs and anything else I might need.
My only and favorite sister is ten years younger than I am, and never lets me forget it. For a long time we were not very close. But, as she approached her thirties and was finally a mom, all of a sudden, we started getting closer. I am so glad we live near each other. We have wonderful “sister adventures” together! Growing older together is not nearly as scary with her Polly by. And an added plus ... she has a great husband that I consider a brother!
In Good Times & Bad Times You Need Your Brothers and Sisters
Then there are those times, along life’s adventures, in which you can’t imagine going through without each other being there. The birth of your children and then later on those wonderful grandchildren. The marriages of those offspring. But, I supposed the most leaning we've done, was when our parents had their home-goings.
Mother was the first to leave us ten years ago and then Daddy four years later. I don’t think I ever gave much thought to how vital it is to have the support of your siblings ... until then. Like no one else in your life, brothers and sisters share DNA. It’s in your blood to be there for each other.You have the same parents.You understand each other in a unique way.
Each situation was different. Mother’s death was very sudden and took each of us for a big jolt. And that’s putting it mildly. Mother was the rock in our family. She was our “go to” decision maker. All of sudden, we had to make decisions we had only talked about briefly. Then there was the devastating way the whole thing hit Daddy. It was a very tough time … a growing even closer together time in our family. We knew we would make it through this challenge ... because we had each other.
About a month later, a friend was asking me, as friends do, how things were. I was sharing with her some things and she pointed something out to me, I had just been taking for granted ... until then. She was an only child. With tears in her eyes, she told me how lucky and blessed I was to have siblings to share this difficult journey with. She knew when the time came for her to deal with this type of issue, how much more difficult it was going to be for her, than someone with loving brothers and sisters. What an eye opener that was to me!
Then when Daddy passed away and the time came to pack up and divide the possessions ... that was another thing altogether. Daddy did not have a massive amount of possessions. There was a will, but then of course, there were special items each of us wanted to have as well. We have never been an argumentative type of family. When I told friends how we decided which of us would get what, a look of shock and amazement comes over their face. This is how we did things. If more than one of us wanted an item, we simply put our name in Daddy’s favorite hat and drew to see who'd get that treasure. No blood was shed or feelings hurt. It was a great system and I frequently recommend it to people.
Communication Through Hugs
Wonderful life experiences with these people fill my memory banks and often bring a smile to my face. I am a blessed woman to have been able to fill so many of my hours with these four very special folks ... my brothers and sister. It takes more than DNA to make a group of people a family. It takes being involved and sharing life’s many moments … being available to each other … being truthful, even when it might hurt … laughing often … crying sometimes and lots of practice hugging each other.
Pat Materna (author) from Memphis, Tennessee, USA on October 10, 2012:
Polly .. we all need help to wake up those memories that make us who we are today.. thanks Little Sis .. lovya
PollyHall on October 10, 2012:
I loved it.........You gotta keep this up. It really opens up my "memory bank" and lets me remember too.....how blessed we are to have each other.....no matter what.