It may have only taken me 35 years (38 for my brother), but my brother and I are finally going on a siblings-ONLY trip. That’s right – no parents, no significant others, no friends. Just one brother and one sister spending quality time together.
I imagine it’s something my parents always wished for when we were little, that there would come a time when we would develop a relationship beyond all the bickering, blaming, and relative bull sheet of siblings.
That time has definitely come.
As brothers and sisters go, I would say we’ve always had a solid relationship with a dash of a special bond created by having birthdays three years and one day apart. We grew up sharing birthday parties and still carry the tradition along, celebrating our milestone birthdays together.
Growing up, my brother always allowed his pesky little sister to tag along whenever I asked, without much complaint. We have countless memories of playing together: Super Mario Bros., Skip-Bo, and, my personal favorite, when we would create our own version of the Double Dare obstacle course and run like wild animals throughout the house.
Now, my brother always has my back, supporting me in whatever crazy endeavors I’m currently a part of, from non-profit galas to helping me put on my first event, Simply the Success, he willingly jumps in.
Yes, I would definitely say we have a solid relationship.
As we continue to grow older (GASP!), finding time to spend with each other is hard, especially with 470 miles between us. It takes a concerted effort on both our parts to stay in touch and schedule visits. We could easily take the coming days and years for granted, believing they will always be there, but we don’t. We instead celebrate our relationship and make it a priority.
The importance of cultivating your family relationships:
1. Self-Awareness. They are your blood. There is something special about the people you share your DNA with. You may not like some of them (hold up a mirror; you probably see something in them that reflects your own shortcomings), but, regardless, there is a truth weaved within your spirit providing you with a connection unlike any other. Family ties are crucial to survival. These are the people who intuitively know you best. If you want to have great self-awareness, start spending more time with your family unit. They hold all the answers to who you are, from past to present.
2. Support System. Having a close relationship with your family means a constant support system. There is no accurate measurement to the power of having a solid support system in place. Your friends may be a part of this, but there is nothing like family when hard times hit. These are the people who will sacrifice for you, give you their kidney if needed, and watch you ugly cry with no judgment. One thing I know for certain is life is not all rainbows and butterflies and perfectly curated social media posts. Life is messy, confusing, and downright devastating at times. If you want a permanent shoulder to cry on, show up as that person for your family now. They will repay you in full at some point in the future when you need it most.
3. Stand the test of time. Very few people are in your life from the time you are born until the time you die. Family members usually are. There is something to be said for having life-long relationships and the magnitude in which they can affect you. These are the people who have seen you grow, develop, change, succeed, fail, and become the unique being you are. By developing a deeper relationship throughout your life with your family unit, you build an unbreakable bond that will stand the test of time. If you want to celebrate life fully, surround yourself with the people who have been there since the beginning of your time or who you’ve been with since their beginning. Experiencing life together will come full-circle.
I’m currently in flight to Cleveland (ok, ok, not necessarily a big destination hot spot, I know!) but for good reason. My brother and I will be spending a whirlwind two days together with the main highlights being the Dodgers vs. Indians game and a Dave Matthews Band concert – just the two of us – creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Have a brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, niece, nephew, or grandchild you’re missing? Pick up your phone, and call them now. Better yet, FaceTime them. Tell them you love them. Schedule your next visit. No excuses. Embrace your family, and never let go.