What is a Sibling?

National Siblings Day is April 10th. I never realized there was such day until a few years back when my social media feeds filled up with photos from friends. Well, it holds a different memory now because last year it was the day we buried one of my siblings. Katie Phillips died suddenly just one day after an Easter family gathering. Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what defines a “sibling” and what it really means to me.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a sibling as, “a brother or sister. 1. one of two or more individuals having one common parent. 2. One of two or more things related by a common tie or characteristic.”

Explaining my family tree isn’t easy. I practically have to write out a chart to get some people to understand my siblings are not the typical Mom + Dad = had kids = siblings. My parents got divorced when I was three. My mom has been married to my stepdad Larry for 30+ years. They had my sister Jerri K and we have lived under the same roof for my entire childhood.

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Photo: Jerri K, Larry, Me

My dad had a short relationship during the 90’s and basically adopted my sister Nicki. He’s been married to his current wife Debbie for 25 + years and she has three children; Stella, Katie and Matthew.

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Photo: Nicki, my Dad Bill, me, Stella

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Photo: Me, Katie, Matthew, Stella

The siblings I have acquired along the way are people who I have known since we were all kids. I can’t imagine doing life without all of them.

So, what is a sibling? A sibling is someone who helps define who you are. They are your people. A sibling is the person who knows your past mistakes and doesn’t judge you. They have seen you at your worst and been there for the best. They cry with you, laugh with you, maybe drink beer on the back porch and dance with you. They let you be you.  You can have an argument and it will always be OK. They teach you how to be a better person. You shared razors, clothes and secrets. They are your future, when the next generation moves on we will be here starting new traditions and making new memories.

No matter *how* it all came about, your siblings are part of you.

People have asked, “Do I wish my parents would have stayed together so we could be one big happy family?”

No. Never.

Why?

Simple: I wouldn’t have the people in my life that I have now. I have two dads and two moms and I wouldn’t change one thing about my past. Remember, God doesn’t do anything by accident, it’s all for a purpose. (Romans 8:28) I’m so thankful to have the siblings I have.

Making the most out of life,

Andrea

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