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This is a little tribute to strong sibling relationships. Why are they so important and why do we need to look after them?


Last week my two brothers and I drove the 800kms north to visit our dad in Shark Bay. No partners or kids, just us. We were away for 5 days and never more than 100 metres apart. It reminded me of what weird and wonderful things siblings are.

Siblings are your witnesses through life. They see it all. They know what it was like to grow up in your home; the good bits and the hard stuff. They remember your Aunty Glad, who wasn’t very glad at all. And annoyingly, they remember that time in Year 7 when you wouldn’t stop crying while your mum was trying to take a photo of you with the inter-school marching shield. It’s a long story.

The fact that they remember all those things creates a sort of shared consciousness. I don’t look forward to a time when I might carry those memories alone.

Siblings are what is left when everyone else comes and has gone. You can have an ex-husband but you can’t have an ex-sibling, even if you don’t get on all the time. They are around for the heartbreaks and the illnesses. In fact, it’s at those times that they might shine brightest.

Obviously, sibling relationships aren’t all peace and kumbaya. There are times when siblings press your buttons. Of course they do. Hell…they helped install those buttons.

I wish we could pass onto kids how valuable their siblings are. How much they will mean in the future. But we can’t. They are too busy arguing about who is sitting in the front seat of the car or whose turn it is on the iPad. But there are moments. Make sure you photograph the moments. They will want to see them in the future.

In the meantime, I highly recommend a road trip with your siblings. After all, it’s good to have your closest compatible organ donors close by when you’re travelling.

***This photo was taken after a day on the water; fishing and crabbing and watching dolphins and sea turtles. We even saw emus standing in the shallows cooling down. We’re a bit tired and bedraggled.

 

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Linda Stade has worked in various teaching and management roles in education for twenty-five years. She has worked in government and private schools, country and city, single-sex and co-ed. Currently, she is the Research Officer at Santa Maria College, Western Australia.


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