I’m sure you’ve read the articles—or at least seen the headlines as you scroll.
I have a handful of kids myself and, as a mom, it’s true—I sincerely wish for my children to have a deep bond when they’re grown. I want them to be friends with mutual love, respect, and camaraderie between them.
But the truth is not all siblings grow up to be friends.
In my own 30+ years as a sibling, I’ve come to accept that it really is as simple and as complicated as that.
My siblings and I don’t call each other daily. We don’t banter back and forth on a group text. We don’t meet up on random Tuesday nights in a restaurant booth to discuss life over margaritas and queso, even though some of us live in the same town.
If I’m being honest, it hurts a little to realize I’ll likely never have that, that I’ll probably never share a close relationship with the people I grew up with. We share genes, a healthy catalog of happy childhood memories, and an upbringing that shaped each of us in various ways—but we just don’t share a close bond.
It’s not that our relationship is acrimonious or filled with any sort of hatred. We’re not going to end up on an episode of Maury or The People’s Court squabbling over an inheritance or a bitter love triangle. But it’s not the flowery stuff of mom blogs or those dreamy, muted orange Instagram stories, either.
We grew into adults who aren’t that close.
Honestly, I wonder sometimes if we’re not such an anomaly. There must be more sets of grown siblings out there like us than social media would lead you to believe. The kind who does a passable job of going through the motions but would never be in each other’s orbits if it weren’t for our common DNA.
That story doesn’t get the headlines though, because it’s not very sexy. It’s uncomfortable to see ourselves in the once-every-three-months group text messages that elicit eye rolls or annoyed sighs. Those awkward Thanksgiving dinners where extended families make small talk to fill four hours are uncomfortable enough to live, let alone relive.
Because I’ve learned that while real life may be true, it doesn’t always fit into our preferred narrative.
I wish I could point to a specific incident that causes us to hold one another at arm’s length—but I can’t. We had a comfortable childhood. Our parents are objectively great and had plenty of love for us all. We had good times together and made a lot of memories.
But eventually, we grew up and we just grew apart. We got married, and not necessarily to spouses who had all that much in common with our siblings. We got busy having our own kids, pursuing our own careers, our own hopes and dreams.
Thankfully, we’ve proven we’re there for each other when push comes to shove—something I’m incredibly grateful to know deep down in my bones—but I don’t think we’ll ever really be friends.
We’re related, but that’s about it.
And I have a feeling we can’t be the only ones.
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