Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Siblings Day, April 10, 2019

I don’t believe an accident of birth
makes people sisters or brothers. 
Sisterhood and brotherhood
is a condition people have to work at.
~Maya Angelou

Today, April 10, is an opportunity to recognize and honor our siblings. Siblings Day is indeed an actual holiday, although it is not recognized very widely, which is unfortunate. Our brothers and sisters are people who are important to us. The relationships we share with them deserve to be recognized, honored, and lifted up. Our relationships to our siblings are often the longest lasting relationships of our lives. They are relationships that go through changes throughout our lives. Over the years they can go from peaceful and harmonious to strained and tumultuous.

Three of one of the younger sets of siblings in our family:
our Grandchildren Preslea, Logan and William Shepard
of San Diego
As I think about the relationships that I have had with my 5 siblings over my 70 years, the ups and downs have been many. There have been various evolutions in our relationships over the decades. Part of that has been simply a result of proximity. There have been periods when we were very close geographically or emotionally, and times when we were not. Today my siblings Russ, Barb, Darrell and Gary all live in Western Washington. There were times we did not see each other very often, and then times when we spent lots of time together. But through it all they have remained among the most important people in my life.

We have not always seen eye to eye on things, whether related to our family, our faith, or any other matter in life. But despite our varying perspectives, we have remained in relationship. Because first and foremost we are family. That is the thing that keeps us in relationship regardless of what else is happening in our lives. That love of family is a value that was instilled in us by our parents, and for that we are eternally grateful.

Senior Siblings Maida and Vicki
with their late brother Hank in 2003
So on this Siblings Day 2019 I encourage you to honor your siblings. If they are no longer alive, remember them and be grateful for what they meant to you in life.

This year, once again, the oldest pair of siblings among us is my mother Maida Gower Shepard and her sister Vicki Gower Johnston. They have been siblings for 86 years! First in Oklahoma when they were children, then in San Diego for over 30 years, and then in Western Washington for over 35 years.

Today Maida lives in Anacortes, Washington with her family, while Vicki lives in Chandler, Arizona near her daughter Paula Tuzzolino. But for most of their 86 years as sisters they lived in close proximity to each other. These days they both struggle with issues of aging, but they still occasionally talk on the phone and enjoy a conversation that way. Our best wishes go to both Vicki and Maida and their family members who care for them.
- - -
Steve Shepard

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