My siblings and I continue to work on letting our concern over our parents bring us closer rather than split us apart. It is not without bruised egos, hurt feelings and harsh words sometimes.
We have a 10-year span in our ages but as we all age, the gap gets smaller and smaller – however, I am pleased to boast that I will always be the youngest.
My sister is the oldest. She was off to college before I really have any memories of her in my childhood. She is the kind heart that bought me a ticket and flew me to California for spring break in college when I just didn’t want to go to Florida where all my girlfriends were itching to go. Her open and sympathetic heart has helped steer our journey with our parents. She has already cared for her husband’s mother who had dementia and lived in their home for the last few years of her life.
My older brother was the one who saved me from the younger brother growing up. He was always the outgoing “hugger” that was the black sheep until the rest of us figured out that sharing your feelings outwardly is important to those around you. We still are amazed we were raised in the same family sometimes. He’s the only other sibling with two kids like me, so we find we have much in common now … I hope my kids turn out as wonderful as his and my sister-in-law’s kids have grown.
My younger brother and I fought like cats and dogs until I went away to college. We became great friends and spent much of our 20s together. We are likely to guess any secrets between us before one is formed and can argue passionately from varied viewpoints but still end up appreciating the other person’s viewpoint (however his is usually the CRAZY one in every debate).
The real test of love is when you face a problem. Not only do you get to better understand someone’s viewpoint on something you would typically never discuss, your trust of each other is challenged.
Several years ago, at a business meeting no less, one woman told us that a wildly successful partnership she formed with another firm was based on the concept of “giving each other the A.” You need to give your partners the “Assumption” that they are in line with what you discussed. Some days, it doesn’t feel that way, and it’s okay to call them and ask them to clarify.
It’s a tall order, but incredibly constructive. Assume the best of your family and they will deliver. Appreciated.