Often before people know much more about me than my name, they learn I come from a big family. There’s six of us—Maureen, Meaghan, James (my only brother), myself, Bernadette, and Rosemary. The oldest is in her late twenties; the youngest just learning to drive. The rest of us fit somewhere in the middle.
Growing up, it’s really easy to be friends with your siblings. You’re all in the same house (probably sharing a room, even) and you’re involved in the same extra-curriculars—it’s almost a no-brainer to be bonded so tightly with those you’re already bound to by blood.
Getting older proves it’s not as easy to be friends with your siblings what with distance, of course, being a major in what could lead to strain in relationships. Though three of us are still living at home, all of us are either in school or working, often running around on opposite schedules. (For example: Rosemary is in school during the day when I’m usually home and will get home when I’m heading off to work.) My oldest sister was even living in Mississippi for quite some time when she was getting her Ph.D. in Chemistry.
But because these relationships are important to us, we make them work. We keep a group chat going to send one another funny pictures and tell anecdotes when we’re thinking of each other. Half of us will take off work when the other half is at the beach (even if it is just for the day) to make sure we can sit down and have a dinner together at least once.
I’m an idealist, but I’m not stupid. Nothing is perfect all the time. We bicker with one another and often have differing opinions on whatever it is we’re talking about. But the important thing is that we care enough about this friend group we were born into, and refuse to let it go to waste. So after we argue, and after we (okay, I ) cry, we ultimately go back to the table one of us got up from to talk the conflict out. After that, it’s a return to normalcy. And why wouldn’t we want it to be? While no one can get under my skin like my siblings can, no one can make me feel quite as loved and supported. And that’s why I work so feverously to maintain these bonds.