the sibling effect

From Jeffrey Kluger’s book The Sibling Effect:

“Crawford once observed that if you want to know what it’s like for a firstborn when a little sister or brother joins the family,” he says, “try to imagine a woman whose husband tells her, ‘Honey, I’ve got a new, better-looking wife coming along and you’ll be moving to a room down the hall.  But don’t worry, I’ll love you both the same and there’s plenty of room for all of us.’ ”

The long march of years brothers and sisters usually get to share is both a gift and an inevitable source of melancholy.  You are together as your family of origin buds and grows.  You are together as it matures.  And you are together, too, as it decays and declines.  You experience the same things, even if not always int he same ways.  “Siblings,” says Katherine Conger, “are like our memory banks.”

For the two decades before children are old enough to leave home, they are making deposits into that account.  The shared experiences of childhood get placed in a family’s short-term vault and then, if the experiences are meaningful enough, they are transferred to long-term archiving.

When adult siblings who remain involved in one another’s lives generally see their continued relationship as a desirable and very rewarding thing, even those who want nothing to do with one another continue to be deeply connected all the same–whether they realize it or not.  That’s because the person with whom you first learned how–or how not–to manage relationships and resolve conflicts can’t help but inform how you practice those same skills with all of the other people who eventually populate your world.

When I was seven year old, my adorable sister was born – and I love her with all my heart.  However, after being the Favored One for seven years, it felt as though my world was turned upside down.  I told my Dad:  “You don’t love me anymore now that she is here!”

This beautiful baby became a beautiful girl and a beautiful woman  – and I absolutely can’t imagine my life without her.

My brother was born when I was eleven and he was the most beautiful boy and we all doted on him.  He never (never never) did anything wrong and I don’t believe there was ever the need to reprimand or punish him (can’t say the same about myself).

my beautiful sister

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