Bonnie Bing

May 9, 2014

Sibling Day an opportunity for us to celebrate sisters, brothers

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’ll be honest. I’ll be glad when it’s over and the displays and ads featuring moms are gone. Not meaning to sound grouchy or sorry for myself, but I’m both. This is the first Mother’s Day I haven’t had my mom to celebrate. She died in December, and it feels like a long time ago. Of course, I’m thinking of her today and wish I could give her one of those sentimental cards she loved.

Once you reach adulthood you realize that even though their personalities may be larger than life, and they once seemed like people who would live forever, your parents – yes, your parents – will die someday. And regardless of how old you are, when both parents are gone, you feel like an orphan. Thank goodness for family, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a sibling.

That’s why I think Sibling Day is an excellent idea. I didn’t know there was one (April 10) until I decided to declare one. We have everything from Father’s Day to Grandparent’s Day to Groundhog Day to Administrative Professionals Day so it makes sense to celebrate our brothers and sisters. If you don’t have any, substitute a cousin or someone who is as close as a sibling. But since I missed the official Sibling Day, (who knew?) I'm going with today.

Today I’m letting my little brother, Dale, know I love and appreciate him, and I couldn’t have gotten through the loss of our parents without him. He’s my only sibling because we suffered the loss of our 16-year-old brother when we were kids. Siblings are an important part of life, and even if you fought like cats and dogs when you were kids, and maybe you still do, wouldn’t it be nice to put any hurt feeling, jealousy and grudges away for one day and express your love?

It hurts my heart when I hear siblings fighting, regardless of age. I think the last time Dale and I were mad at each other was more than 20 years ago. Or at least mad enough to react. He may have a different story, but that’s the last time I remember. When a friend of mine said, “I wish my brother would move to the edge of the earth and fall off,” I wanted to shake her until her teeth rattled. Instead I told her to talk to him and try to work things out because she had only one brother, and he is her only sibling. Then I asked her how she’d feel if something did happen to him. She quickly started telling me his good qualities.

When I suggested Sibling Day to another friend, she thought it was a good idea but an acquaintance said, “I guess it’s a good idea, but I don’t have anything in common with my brother or my sister so I’d probably not do anything.” I had to laugh because she has parents in common. Besides, what does that have to do with anything?

My brother, who is five years younger and never lets me forget it, and I don’t have the same interests. He’s a blade-thin marathon runner (Boston and New York marathons this year), a tri-athlete and an Iron Man. He is a scuba diver, amazing water skier and would live on a boat if possible. Needless to say, I am none of the above.

He is methodical, organized, a borderline neat freak and knows a whole lot about insurance. Once again, I’m none of the above.

What we do have in common are great memories, funny stories only he and I can appreciate fully, and loved ones. He got married very young and is still married to the same terrific woman, Peggy, whom I think of as a sister. Their daughter Amy will always be a special person in my life, as will Eric, their son. I’m so proud of both of them. And I have Dale to thank for bringing these people into my life.

It’s a great day to honor moms, stepmoms and, yes, mother-in-laws. Honor all of them, even those who aren’t with us anymore.

But also this day, or April 10 or any day actually, is a good time to let your siblings know you love them and appreciate their love and support. Besides, it will make your mama happy.

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