Lake Tahoe
My siblings and I (minus my baby sister & brother) freezing our toes at Lake Tahoe, CA in 1973.

I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at. – Maya Angelou

Having seven brothers and sisters can be pretty wonderful.

But having several siblings can also be quite a challenge and the past few months have been particularly difficult for me. Today, I had a long talk with my youngest brother over the phone. Actually, I have been having long talks with several of my siblings lately.

As in every family relationship, there are times when tensions arise, but strangely, I feel closer to many of my siblings than I have ever felt in a long time. And I guess I am realizing that these are relationships I need to work at. These are relationships I need to value.

In a way, I have taken my siblings for granted. I have taken for granted that they will always be around. I have taken for granted that they will always love me and I, them. That’s what siblings are to one another, right?

But I am finally realizing that as with any relationship, it doesn’t just happen.  We live all over the country and it takes an effort to keep in touch even with the ones who live just forty minutes away.  I might not see or even speak to any of my siblings for weeks. It takes time to really connect, to really share our “what’s happening”, our struggles, our joys, and our dreams with one another.  And it requires a bit of vulnerability and openness as well, plus occasional doses of forgiveness and patience.  Ok, maybe more than occasional. 

I am finding (although I have suspected it for some time) that I have some very pretty amazing siblings.  Sometimes I wonder how we could come from the same parents but then I am astonished that we are so alike.   The more I share who I really am, the more I learn who they really are.  And in the difficult times, I am learning that they are people I can lean on for support.  They will be there no matter what and I for them.

Wow, I have seven incredible brothers and sisters.  I am feeling really blessed.  I am so thankful.

Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him. And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face. — St Francis of Assisi

If you would like to share your version of “Thankful Thursday” (photos or text or both) today or in the future, you can link your post to my post on Thursdays in the comments section with the title “Thankful Thursday”.

Have a great Thursday everyone!