Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sibling Rivalry? Not Really.

(A small departure from our regularly scheduled and planned Pride and Potential postings because I finished one of my posts that I tried to write mid-brain mush.)

Yesterday I was filling out one of those "getting to know you" type forms. Answering questions like, "if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?" (Australia, Egypt, Brasil, Vermont)  "what's your favorite book? (The Little Prince, The Girl of the Limberlost) "what's your favorite movie" (The Importance of Being Earnest), etc.

One of the things that I learned from this task was that I don't really know myself that well. The questions were hard to answer.  There was one that was easy though.  It was about siblings, specifically how many you have, or rather, since I was filling it out about me, and not you, it was how many siblings I have.  Right.  So I wrote four.  But I don't have four siblings, I am one of four siblings, so I really only have three.

Two older brothers and one younger sister.  I've been thinking about my siblings all day today.  I have never known life without my older brothers, and I can not remember any life without my sister.  They have always been there, and I think we had pretty normal sibling relationships growing up, equal parts war and peace.

I vividly recall tormenting my brother Dan, chanting "Dan Dan he's the garbage can man".

I remember a nasty incident involving a Cabbage Patch Kid doll being thrown at a sister, the hard head of the doll hitting said sister in the face. (I say sister because I honestly can't remember if I threw it, or my sister did.  Either way, one of us got hurt. And I know that that made the other one hurt too.)

I can still see in my head my brother Peter and his big friends coming down the hall at school for me, because I was just a tiny little plaything that they could toss around. These bullies were not gentle.  (and I still remember Jared making me laugh so hard I couldn't eat a bite of dinner. Cruel, I tell you.)

That's when we were siblings.  A couple of kids with the labels of "brother" and "sister".  I also remember one year my dad took us all to work with him for a sort of "Bring Your Kids to Work" day.  I remember walking around his office, looking at all the cubicles and then touring the factory.  I remember the apple cart man and the slow woop room, and I remember that that was the day that my brother and I stopped being brother and sister.

Because we had started being friends. I have had similar days with my other brother and with my sister.  Days where we made a transformation.  We shook off the heavy sibling labels and put on the much more comfortable roles of "friends".  Oh, how I miss you - the every day friends of my every day life. (It would  be lying to tell you that I'm not crying right now. I guess I could have avoided you knowing by not saying anything at all, since you can't see me, but this blog is all about honesty. I'm crying right now.)

And those beautiful people who have in some way filled some part of every day of my life have since gone on, and like me, gotten married and started families.  The beautiful people they married quickly shed the stiff words that kept them rigid in their status as an "in-law" and became brother and sisters in their own rights.  Over the years (can you believe it's been years now?) they have softly wiggled their way into the comfy inner chambers of my heart where I keep my friends.  Except Jeff. I think he wiggled, but perhaps not softly.  Read that to him, Meems. Tell him I'm laughing now.

I love you guys.  That goes for the Rose family too.  My other family.  And I look at Hallie and Hanna and I pray that they are blessed with friends like I have been.  Inside my family and out.


  1. Awwwwww... Thanks Ames! Be careful you don't "Woop" too fast now, or the apple cart man will not visit you on Christmas!

    I'm glad we're friends! I don't have many friends anymore. Partly due to my human brain's cortex only being able to handle about 150 human relationships at a time (147.8 to be exact):

    and partly because I'm apparently to busy to give anyone the time of day anymore (no really, I am),

    and partly because I'm just not cool anymore. :( Old. Fat. Smelly. Check, Check, Check.

    I think that since I have 996 cards in my address book, I need to clean it out. Perhaps down to 150. ;)

    Then maybe I'll be able to socialize again with other humans!

  2. Interesting anecdote: The article mentions the hutterites, a religious group that for hundreds of years has limited the size of each 'congregation' to 150, and split them when they become close to that number.

    In the LDS church the minimum size of a ward is 300 total members, and in the US, where we have the highest rates of activity, the inactivity rate is usually around 50%. Ward clerks count people at sacrament meeting, and I'd bet that for 90% of wards in the US it is between 120 -180 people. Factor in that most active mormon maintain relationships with a few people outside their ward (work, school, etc) and you have the reason you will never have a relationship with everyone in your ward!

  3. I love you, Ames! And I can't wait to read that out loud to Jeff when he gets home. And I'm SO glad that you're my sister. And I'm so happy that Jill will have siblings, too.