It’s a funny thing, sibling love. Take the two cherubs above. A day spent loving and hating each other in equal measure; but when one gets wobbly about something they band together, thick as thieves. Even in their deepest sleep, when one has been wobbly the other wants to be there. It’s a constant, a sibling. An unspoken safety net. A link to your past, a companion, a trusted advisor, a secret keeper. But what happens when a sibling relationship grinds to a halt? Can time, and effort erase the void? How do you restart?
I’ve found myself in this situation. My sibling went away when they were 11. Boarding school (through choice, not banished!) I was 14. Both of us just on the cusp of going through a period of development and change. We had very little contact during the 17 years they’ve been away. Partly down to life being busy, and on my part, kind of through choice. I’m the kind of person who would rather have no contact. Telephone calls and letters only remind me of who I’m missing. I find it easier that way. It’s probably very selfish of me but it’s my way of self preservation.
My sibling returned to my life full time a little over a year ago. It was a welcome return filled with nothing but excitement and joy. They brought with them a spouse and a child. Two very special and welcome additions to my life. Two brilliant additions to my children’s lives. My relationships with the spouse and child have been easy, there was no history and so it’s been a clean page from which to start. My relationship with my sibling has been a little more difficult.
17 years is a long time, people grow and change and suddenly we aren’t two children playing anymore. We are fully fledged grown ups, with responsibilities and lives that bring challenges and demands. The desire to be two children playing is still there. But how to re-establish a relationship with someone who is no longer the child that you remember? When I wasn’t looking my sibling grew up. And so did I. Two individuals with voices and opinions and very clear cut likes and dislikes.
It’s been tricky. It is tricky. It’s going to take a while longer until we really find our place with each other. I’m sure that along the way we will bicker and butt heads but there was once a fierce friendship there. One that can be rediscovered and dusted off so that it can take pride of place again.