the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

10
April

National Sibling Day

Posted by Brittany

In a lot of ways I started to feel more and more like an only child as I got older. Clint left for college when I started the eight grade and didn’t return home until I’d already left for James Madison University. During those years we usually worked throughout our school breaks and any communication we might have had was mostly limited to who needed the car for the day. I think we were starting to appreciate the adult each one of us was becoming, but due to circumstance it was mostly from a distance. Then, a few weeks after I started my second year at JMU I went through what was, at the time, a devastating break-up. Every weekend for about two months I came home to be with my family, and grow my strength from their support. One day I remember sitting in the hallway, which was odd in itself, completely devoid of any will, or hope, or desire. Clint came to sit down next to me, talked to me about how I was feeling, and assured me that things would get better. I think that may have been the first completely candid conversation of our adult lives — the first time we were connecting as people instead of brother and sister — and I’m glad to say it wasn’t the last.

To celebrate National Siblings Day Chris and I decided to spend the day with Clint and his wife, Carolyn. (Chris is an only child, a “curse” he insists we must not afflict on our own offspring.) We’re fortunate that, although we don’t make the drive as often as we should, Clint and Carolyn only live about an hour away. And we were excited to find out that Carolyn’s sister, Vicky, would be able to join us as well (unfortunately, Carolyn and Vicky’s brother Jay had to work). We all met up at Clint and Carolyn’s place and squished into one car to head over to a local buffet restaurant that also had a little arcade inside. We stuffed our bellies with pizza, fries, salad, and tacos before trying our hand at some skee ball and dancing games, and once our arcade-induced exercise readied our appetites for some more food we visited the sundae bar for dessert. The place was a little run down and a lot of the games didn’t work but this might have worked in our favor because they didn’t seem to mind the fact that we stayed for several hours, talking and laughing loudly. We were having such a good time we even ended up standing around talking in the parking lot for another hour or so. When we got back to Clint’s place Vicky had to set her sights on home, but Chris and I stayed for a little while to chat some more and play with our “nephew” cats, Oranjello and Lemonjello. We were in such good company today that the time seemed to just fly by! I’m hoping this might be a tradition we can repeat each year, but that we also don’t wait for the next National Siblings Day to plan another get-together.

My brother is unique. He’s opinionated, a non-conformist, and he’s really good at rubbing people the wrong way when he wants to. But underneath his sometimes rough exterior, there really is a heart of gold, and a loyalty that’s tough to deter. Couple those qualities with extreme intelligence and a shocking but witty sense of humor and its now wonder he and his wife have so many friends. And any time I meet one of them for the first time I’m always proud to say “Hi, I’m Brittany. I’m Clint’s sister.”

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