This last month has been a hard one for us where family is concerned. We find both sets of our parents aging and in need of other living situations. As we’ve approached this new territory we have discovered that sibling relationships come back into sharper focus when the magnitude of the decisions that need to be made with parents arise. The worldview that ran the home the kids grew up in still exists but each one has had a lifetime of change and evolution as well. A weird dynamic that consists of a combination of what once was and what now is for each sibling and his/her family enters the room and greatly impacts the decision making. It has been our recent experience that this dynamic is not at all for the faint of heart.
As our families spent time together this past week, it has been clear that we have each had our own adult journey through life and we’re in the season where our adult kids are all making their own way in the world just like we had to do. As we communicate on behalf of our aging parents though, we have discovered that we bring all of who we once were and all of who we are now with us. Stephen Covey said that when we pick up a relationship after an absence, we will always pick up right where we left off in spite of however much time or experience has passed between us. At no other time have I witnessed this to be more true than this last month.
Sibling relationships at present still contain the areas of closeness as well as unresolved conflict that was there before we set out on our own. The real in all of this is that being with your sibling/s in a room with just your own parents takes you home again. In that space you discover your brother/brothers almost all over again. You also discover that where you go from there depends largely upon what happened in that space of forced togetherness. It has the potential to make you strong on behalf of your parents or blow things apart and leave you silent in the decision making. There is no way to predict or control either outcome.