Thursday, April 12, 2018

Five Things I Learned Having Siblings

A couple of days ago it was National Sibling Day. It is described as “Siblings Day (sometimes called National Siblings Day or National Sibling Day) is a holiday recognized annually in some parts of the United States on April 10, honoring the relationships of siblings. Unlike Mother's Day and Father's Day, it is not federally recognized, though the Siblings Day Foundation is working to change this.” It was started by a lady named Claudia Evart who did it in honor of her siblings that passed away young. In this Five Things I Learned Having Siblings I am going to talk about, well, the five things I learned having siblings.

For those that do not know I have four older brothers and a younger sister. I know. Shocking. Most people assume that I am an only child. I know some people are down when it is National Sibling Day but don't fret because Only Child Day is the day after and there are people with siblings that do not get along all that well.

It's Not As Cool As It Sounds

I have some friends that are only children and they say things sometimes like “I wish I had brother/sister growing up” to which I reply “Eh, no you don't.” A lot of times people have this idea of siblings based off of TV shows and movies where you sleep together happily, hang out all the time, and fight but always make up in the end. Having siblings means a lot of things and most of them are not good which I'll get into more detail about later. Having siblings is like being taller to me. It sounds cool until you have it.

I know some people that have brothers and/or sisters and they say things like “I'm gonna go over to their house later for dinner” and I am like “What are you even saying to me right now?” I do not know what that is like and at this point it would be awkward as hell to sit across from my siblings and eat together. For some, like me, your siblings are people you know by name and what they were like growing up...and that's it. You probably picture you dropping your ice cream cone, crying, your sibling looking at you and giving you one of their scoops. Well, in reality they see you drop your ice cream, laugh, and then they start crying when your parents force them to share with you. Speaking of which...

I Had To Share Things

This is fine if you grew up being taught to share things or if you want to. But in some families, like mine, we were not taught words like “share” or “fair.” If you got it first, then damn it, you just got it first and to hell with everyone else. Once my sister was born sharing became more of a diplomatic process because she was a girl and fighting her physically for things was not a solution. With my two older brothers it was a fight for candy (not toys) that came in cereal. If you did hard work for something, like cleaning the house to watch a WWF pay-per-view, I had to accept that my oldest brother reaped the benefits of all my hard work. It was fine though because I loved the mofo.

I used to get offended when people would think I was an only child because I always associated an only child with being spoiled and demanding all the attention. Some people thought I was an only child even when I went to school with one of my brothers. Someone told me that they thought I had no siblings because I seemed lonely and like I wanted to be alone. Growing up the kids that were only children clung to their parents whereas I was overjoyed when my parents would leave me the hell alone. They would not be able to leave their parents alone during gatherings and stayed away from other kids. As I grew up I saw kids with siblings acting the same damned way and realized that some kids just like being around their parents. Weirdos.

Do Not Assume You'll Be Friends

I know some folks that have siblings and they hang out and visit each other even when they live in other states and cities. On TV siblings are close even when they get old and have families and they visit each others families and their kids call them aunt and uncle. That is not my life. I have nephews and nieces I have not seen in years and they have kids themselves that I've never met. Could I? Yeah. Do I want to try? Nah. Out of my four older brothers I would say I was close with one and since he is dead now I'm not really close with any of them. Hell, there is one I've only met three times and two of those times I didn't know who he was let alone the fact he was my brothers. As for my younger sister, you probably know as much about her as I do right now.

The older I got the more I realized that people are people like Depeche Mode said years ago. If I didn't talk to you much at home chances are as an adult it was not gonna change. Though I am not close with my siblings I'm still pretty sure that if I needed someone to kick some ass for me I could call them or my countless cousins I also have no contact with just because the code of the streets says they have to. The big question is do I want to be closer with my siblings and honestly I'm okay with the way things are. I have adopted Jasmine as my sister whether she wants it or not.

I Learned To Be Patient

I imagine an only child wanting to take a shower. They have to wait till their parents are done and then they can. Or maybe they have those weird parents that think of their kid first and let you shower before them. Imagine wanting to shower and having to wait until your parents are done and then three other people by the time you get to. And after all that just hoping that there is enough hot water left. The struggle was real.

A few weeks ago a friend called a Lyft for me. I was in with the driver and we covered a lot of topics like being financially liquid, athletes and why they go broke, and music. While talking to him about Ska music and bands like Fishbone he skipped a song thirty seconds in and we kept talking. He asked how long I give songs and I told him that I try to stay a minute and a half in and told him how the song he just skipped changes completely a little bit after he had jumped past it. He said that he gets impatient and I told him that I grew up the youngest for a while (my sister came around when I was about 10) so I was used to waiting my turn whether I wanted to or not. I also said how there are so many songs or movies I would have missed out on by not being patient and knowing what it is like to wait a minute. He was genuinely shocked and said he'd have to start trying it.

Learning From Them

One of the best things about having siblings is learning what to do and what not to do. I watched two of my older brothers have kids with women and not stick together and thought “Know what? Not for me.” I am almost 40 now and do not have kids which I deserve a medal for. That and the whole not ever being in jail thing. I had the opportunity to see what they did and try my best not to repeat their mistakes. I also learned some cool things like how to draw, write strange music, and talk to people. Out of the three older brothers I grew up with none of them are alike. If you put me and all my brothers in the same room and had us talk about our hobbies though there is some overlap none of us did them with one another. One DJ's, I make beats, another raps and not once have we ever said “We should work together on something.”

My oldest brother died when I was 22 years old and he was 32. I hear people talk about someone being too young to die when they are in their 50's and I wish I had that much more time to speak to my brother. We would talk every Monday and sometimes in between about wrestling, life, and work. It always made me feel good that even though I had so much family that I did not talk to that I had this one person that made me feel like I was part of a family. He was a funny, cool, likable ass dude. He is the reason I do anything creatively because when I was little he'd draw and I told him that I could draw better than him. After he died a picture was found that he drew of his kids and even being 7 years older than he was when he died he is still a better artist than me. When you have a sibling die, at any age, if you were close it does not get easier. Hell, even if you did not get along I'm sure there are some strong feelings about it. When he died the world got a lot less funny and a lot more sad. For as much as I laugh now I used to laugh way more. The world was brighter if that makes any sense. But I didn't realize how bright it was until it was not anymore.

If you have a sibling that you can make amends with and you really want to, you should. I know that sounds weird coming from me seeing as how I have two brothers I barely talk to, one I have met three times, and a sister whose number I don't know. This is one of those don't do what Dante don't does situations.

Click here for previous Five Things I Learned.

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