As the oldest of five children, I have been blessed with two sisters and two brothers. I have always appreciated them, but perhaps even more so over the last six years. That's when I moved across country and could no longer experience our weekly get-togethers.
My parents had five children in a seven-year span. Each one of us unique. We have all always had each other’s backs.
If you were lucky enough to live at home as an adult, your name would find itself on mom’s “list” which included household chores. It is a big house, and needed to be, for such a large family. In fact my mother begins her list and sentence upon addressing us as “Children …”
It is no wonder with today, April 10th, being National Siblings Day that I am a little more nostalgic.
According to the Siblings Foundation, “Sibling bonds are life-long relationships, usually lasting from early childhood to the golden years. It is usually the longest relationship of a person’s life and typically endures much longer than our relationships with our mothers and fathers. Because of the blood relationship, we look alike and enjoy feelings of closeness which may never be surpassed.”
My siblings have had such a profound effect on me that to this day I end my Hail Mary prayer with, “and God bless Joanne (that’s me) Jennifer, Maria, Frankie and Joey.”
There was once a time where all of us “children” were in the same Catholic school. Did I mention it was also the same grade school both of my parents attended? My Italian Catholic upbringing has been a vital part in forming the values that were instilled in me and my siblings. We reinforced those values in each other growing up.
According to theguardian.com, “No other peer relationship involves a shared upbringing, shared genes and shared secrets. Studies show the importance as you get older of having friendly siblings for companionship reminiscences (stories of family holidays are boring for anyone else) and practical support.”
Those holiday memories included lining up, seated at the top of the steps in age-appropriate order, so my father could film us with the movie camera coming down the stairs.
Easter found us on a treasure hunt, hopping around the dining room as part of the task to find our present. The last time I did that I discovered a Def Leppard CD hidden in the tissue box in the downstairs powder room.
You get the picture of how old I was when I was still hopping to appease my younger siblings.
I have had the privilege of not only sharing a room in the early years with my sisters, but also sharing apartments when we were in our twenties.
It was there that I discovered my middle sister Maria’s obsession with sports — hockey in particular. I started noticing ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated being delivered to our door. Every time I turned on the television, it was set on SportsCenter.
I looked at her one day and I said, “Who are you? I thought you were all about your dance classes.” I then realized that I had not really lived with my sister in a whole decade except for summers.
She was exactly four years younger than me. When she was in high school, I was off to college. When I returned home after graduation for a few years, she was off to college.
We reunited again, at about age 28 for me.
My sister, Jennifer is the giving one. She was always off on spring break mission trips while I was off to the Bahamas or Southern California.
She tutored the under-privileged, while I was off to sorority meetings and singing rehearsal. She is an incredible artist, while I am lucky if you can understand my handwriting, as I would much rather type.
In sixteen months, my parents managed to reproduce two polar opposites. They replicated the polar opposites again later with my two brothers. But, boy are they bonded by blood and always stood up for each other!
They are also bonded by their unique way of affectionately and reverently rapping the Hail Mary.
You see, their room was on the third floor with the staircase right next to my room. That's right, boys, I heard everything.
I know on Sunday nights you would fire up the old transistor radio to listen to Dr. Ruth. I know about your daily wrestling matches, and prayed you both did not roll down the curved attic staircase.
I was always protective of them, I was maternal in that way.
When my sisters became mothers, before me, I saw a glow about them I had not seen before. They truly are remarkable with their beautiful boys.
My brothers could not be better uncles — funny and literally stepping up to the plate when needed, whether it be teaching the kids sports or helping with their birthday parties.
When I became a mother I was so content with my little boy, but now, I realize that the best gift I could ever give him is his baby sister!
Happy Siblings Day to all my family, and to yours.
“SIBLINGS DAY FOUNDATION – SiblingsDayFoundation.com.” SIBLINGS DAY FOUNDATION. Web. 9 April 2015.
“The Sibling Bond – TheGuardian.com.” The Guardian. Web. 9 April 2015.
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist and Publicist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.
Joanne's fitness plans, recipes and lifestyle advice are available globally on her website www.happiwoman.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and children, where she runs her fitness and publicity business, Fitness Answer, LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith