My sister-in-law sent me a text after Thanksgiving. She said being together reminded her of the importance of family.

I don’t see my brother that much – four or five times a year maybe. And yet, there is a bond with siblings that seems a bit different to me. I was thinking that other than my parents, my brother is the person on this planet who has known me the longest. He held me as a baby; lived through the days when I held onto the fire hydrant, sobbing uncontrollably, because I didn’t want to leave my mom to go to school; and was on the sidelines when I dropped out of my first try at college.

He was the one who shot BB’s at the bully who corned me on Skycrest Road, switchblade in hand, threatening to slash the front tire of my pink bicycle. Why? Why did my parents give me a pink bicycle? It cried out, “SLASH MY TIRE…” No wonder the kid came after me. I was a mama’s boy – probably had my Scooby Doo lunchbox with a pocket protector in my shirt.

It’s good to have a sibling. We commiserate when my parents act up (more often than you might imagine). This year, with my parents’ move to the retirement community, our family has made the transition for the two of us to host the holidays – the torch has been passed. I wonder if our kids will carry on after we can no longer handle the turkey and fixings.

My girls are close as are Julie’s kids. I love that, although they are in different states, even different countries, they connect with their biological siblings. Nothing makes me happier than for one kid to give me a report on the other because they recently Facetimed. I hope that over time all five of our kids will lean on each other building an appreciation of what they all bring to the table. I can already tell you, Julie and I are not going to be easy to deal with at age 85. I plan on being cranky and very set in my ways. They are gonna need each other!

I hear of families with different political philosophies. I had a great Aunt who always seemed to ruin family gatherings. She was angry at someone about something ALL the time. One year she made a huge stink about being in the family photo because she didn’t like her haircut, so she left the party. But even with the differences in opinion and the occasional tantrum, I’ll take it. It’s pretty cool to know there are  folks who have your back for no other reason than your genetic makeup.

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