Monday, November 7, 2011

Travels with My Brother

By Kate Collins

For the past five years, my brother and sister and I have traveled together to Key West for a long weekend as a memorial to our mother and a way to stay close. We started this tradition shortly after Mom passed away in 2005, and have had such great times re-bonding, we’ve kept it up. This year, because of extenuating circumstances, my sister wasn’t able to go, so it was just my brother and me. 

From comments I’ve received, many people are surprised we can do this and not kill each other. Many others wish they could do it with their own siblings. And then there are those who wouldn’t dream of being in close proximity for even an hour. I feel very sorry for them because they are missing out on a lot of fun and also a lot of healing. 

There are things only siblings understand and share – in-family jokes, childhood trials, tribulations, heartaches, achievements – you name it.  Last year, the three of us laughed so hard while dining at a restaurant that I thought we were going to be asked to leave. What was so funny? Two word mispronunciations. That was it. To an outsider, there is no way that could be so funny. But hearing my brother the minister pronounce Ginko Biloba as Gringo Balboa was enough to have us holding our sides and trying not to hoot with laughter. As you can tell, we share the same love of the absurd.

That is a memory we’ll always have and still laugh about when we get together for holidays. We have more stories like that, but I won’t bore you with them. You really had to be there.

The benefits to this kind of experience are many. We’ve learned more things about each other than would ever come out at a family gathering, where we might have five minutes to converse one on one. We’ve learned how to compromise as adults. You like cinnamon in your coffee and I like hazelnut coffee beans? We can work that out. You stay up late and I’m an early rise? We can work around that. We’ve shared hurts and apologies, too. I learned my brother had been hurt by something my sister and I said years back. He never mentioned it and we didn’t know it. Now was the time to come clean, make amends, and hug. Now that hurt is no longer there. 
My hope is by sharing this with you, maybe some of you will be moved to try something similar. It wouldn’t have to be a trip. It might be a recurring dinner, or a day in the city to see a play.  Hopefully, you will be so pleasantly surprised that you’ll want to make it a tradition, too. 

Are you willing to try? Would your siblings be willing? Or have you already started something similar?


Katreader said...

I'm an only child. While at times I think it may be nice to have a sibling or two-especially with my current stress having my dad in very poor health-for the most part I'm content and happy I'm an Only!

Anonymous said...

My three sisters plus one sister-in-law, and I get together regularly for a sisters week or weekend. The logistics are complicated because we live far from each other (Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia, Bermuda), but we try to make it happen almost every year. Our last sisters week was at my place in Bermuda. Like you, Kate, when the five of us get together, we laugh until our stomachs hurt over things that others wouldn't understand. All five of us feel extremely blessed with the bond we share.

Brittney said...

My husband got me season tickets to the local civic center for broadway musicals for my last birthday. When my sister found out she was jealous so her husband and I got together and got her a season ticket because its not his thing. Now about every 1-2 months I get to go to a musical with my husband and sister, just the 3 of us. Its really nice because we all enjoy them and I get to spend time with my sister who lives 1 hour and 1/2 away :) -- Kate last week you commented that I found my Marco...believe me I did. He is amazing!!

Kate Collins said...

Brittney, you are a lucky woman! Cherish him.

Kat, I have friends who are "onlies" and they have very close friends whom they love as siblings. A person needn't have blood-relative "family" to feel that strong bond, right?

Anonymous said...

I have some good friends, we have made the trip to Paducah KY for the AQS Quilt show and festivities 3 times now.
Yes, plans are in the works for 'next year'.
It is a great few days, doing something we all enjoy, sharing, and meeting other friends.

Aurian said...

That is a difficult question. I am not much of a family person, mainly because we have absolutely nothing in common and are through with the small talk in 5 minutes.

Tarri said...

My sister and I drove from Washington state to Los Angeles a couple of years ago. Or should I say she drove and I rode with my eyes closed (she drives fast). I have also driven with my other two sisters (separately) and my dad to Reno, but that was 25 years ago.

Going is always fun, but coming back is always a drag, probably because we are not used to spending so much time together.

Terry Parrish said...

I've been on trips with both of my siblings and they were a blast. We have always been close and I feel for others who are'nt. I agree with you Kate, that brothers and sisters should make a date to get together and have fun, let bygones be bygones and go forward. They'll never regret it.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, there's no hope that I will ever be friends again with my older brother. From even before he got married, his bride-to-be caused problems and did her best to alienate my brother from the rest of his family. Many times over the years I've tried to reach the brother I used to know, but his wife always interferes. I think about that saying about what goes around comes around and wonder if that will happen to her with one of her children. She should be repaid in this life for the misery she has caused.

Rachelle21 said...

I am an onlie and my friends are as close as some siblings, if not closer. In fact, I consider my one friend's boys (with her permission) as my grandboys as I do not have children and am around the same age as her parents but we call each other sis.

Nancy Jo said...

I'm with Aurian, but I have great friends to travel with.

Rita B said...

It's beautiful stories like this that make me really sad that I'm an "only child". Enjoy your sib's, it's not as much fun to not having one to share your past histories with. someone who was there too.

Vickie said...

My sister and her two boys and me with my Lady K meet each June at my Dad's place in Ottawa, KS. My parents are divorced but are friends and Mom comes up from her house in Fort Scott to cook for all of us. We hang out for what we call Spa Week.
My sister and I get up every morning at 0500 and hammer out my walk and her run for an hour or more. It's our time together each day. We also get one day to hang out and shop, visit our favorite nursery, eat lunch while our parents watch the kids.
We love each other and we have been best friends since always.
I feel for anyone who can't handle being with their siblings. I want her and her family to move out here to Colorado.

Denise said...

I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers. We do get together (all of us, including the littles) for holidays and birthdays (we all live withing 50 miles of each other).

BUT, my 3 sisters and I do a day trip -- sometimes in the Phoenix area, where we live, sometimes somewhere else in Arizona. We started this after my father died in 2005 (Mom died in 1999). After his estate was settled, we went to Las Vegas and saw Celine Dion in concert. Now, we don't do weekend trips, just a day, but it's just the 4 of us. We have a blast.