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Post Column: Shifting Tides: Sibling relations dramatically change

In the rush of life, it’s simple to forget how dynamic our relationships with our siblings are. Remember building forts together on Saturdays, or talking about topics like family issues and the anticipation of Christmas morning? Topics discussed between siblings weren’t typically the same ones you conversed about with friends during childhood adventures.

I miss my sister quite a bit. Up until the day she moved out, she provided a certain type of entertainment to my life that no one else I’ve met can capture. Walking into the house after a long day at school, yearning to be alone, I was always interrupted by her laughing and retelling something that happened at school earlier that day, but I never minded. My sister served as a stark reminder to not take life so seriously, and that has become one of the greatest lessons I’ve been taught.

They say siblings are like friends who live with you, but I don’t find that definition very fitting. A sibling that you find enjoyable to share space in the house with is perhaps one of the more interesting figures in the nuclear family. Think of how your brother or sister’s friends perceive them. They understand another identity of them that’s separate to the one you know. As the two come to merge into one identity through the progression of years, the scenario changes, but growing up during those tender adolescent years allows us to see the truest identity of a sibling: the one that strolls out of bed at 6 a.m. making no attempt to clean themselves up before letting members of the house see them, or the one that fights with your parents about topics ranging from unwanted relationships to less than desirable grades. As a sibling, we understand our brothers and sisters to their roots, and now that we’ve traversed down separate paths, we can observe how our siblings have developed to become the adult figures as we now see them.

Having a relationship with a brother or sister who’s only separated by a few years of age helps with our development just as much as having parents does. Social expectations and living with someone around our age prepares us for moving out and learning how to share our resources. We fret over multiple things during the days of packing up our rooms for a higher education, but leaving my sibling is one of the things I discarded as what I would miss. However, suddenly seeing everyone prepare for the arrival of their siblings makes me wish I was back in those days of camaraderie with that person who consistently taught me with indirect lessons.

But, like everything else in college, that person and relationship that was once so close gets condensed into a weekend during the semester, and with life taking hold of all of us, slowly the summers and winters become preoccupied, too. But we’ll still always hold on to that piece of them that we were exposed to when no one else was. Even our parents missed out on those nights we stayed up until 4 a.m. watching mindless TV or getting so wrapped up in a family on The Sims that sleep was eliminated as an option. As our talks have dwindled down to every once in a while, the memories will pervade my head as Sibs Weekend is underway.

Garrett Lemery is a freshman studying communications at Ohio University. How have your sibling relationships changed? Email him at gl496111@ohiou.edu.

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