Miss Bee’s Bolivar Buzz

By Shannon Williams
“Sibling relationships outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance warmth, loyalty and distrust.” Erica C. Goode.
As I was trying to find a subject to write about this week, I always look at what might be going on in my life and in those around me. Siblings is what is happening in my life and in that of a couple of friends. Full disclosure here, I am the fourth of 5 children born to my parents, so I should be an expert on siblings, but I am not; it is something I have struggled with since they brought my youngest sister home from the hospital and I had to leave a birthday party to go home and greet her (I was five and had a new dress and it was a PARTY!) I always wonder how people raised by the same two parents can come out so different, but it happens in most families. The dynamics of sibling relationships change often, but most definitely at times of a death or illness of either the parent or the siblings. Thank God for email in that you can tell a whole lot of people the same thing at the same time; it really helps, but then some of my siblings are not great with email and that makes it hard.

The other day, I updated the family information list, that I do and keep up. I have to print it out and snail mail it to a few of my siblings as they either do little or no email or don’t have a printer or scanner at home. Again, how we all look at and do things different is baffling to me. Luckily the generations below us (our children) are all able to print, scan and help me with getting the information to their parents. We get updates about our mother always by email, so in my role as the family spokesperson (don’t ask me how I go that) I try and get all the information out that I can and then hope to get response so we can make the needed decisions. We have worked to define some roles in this situation, my brother handles the money, my sister the nurse and the medical, and I am the communications person; but as you can imagine, five people have five different thoughts on what should be done and that is not counting some of the spouses who feel they have a say LOL!! But we have managed to do the best we could during these difficult times. Do we all get along? Oh no, but we all want what is best for our mother. I just try to keep the communication going.

One of the best things to come of all of this, is that I have really gotten to know my older sister for once in my life. While she is only 4 years older than me, we really never were close. My younger sister and I were always considered the little ones and my parents health and financial situation was much better during our childhood than the older ones had. This year for Christmas, we both wanted to do something to work at building stronger bonds with our siblings, I made my grandmother’s apricot bars and sent them out to all of my brothers and sisters. My sister continued the tradition of sending an Amaryllis to her sister. My aunt Phyllis (my mom sister) would always send this to my mother each year; we would yell “it’s a Phyllis Amaryllis” when we were little. I guess we thought it was funny. As I watch it bloom, I am filled with love and reminded of the fact that I am not alone in my family.

One of my dearest friends is having to deal with a sibling who is ill and not aging well, and her only child is not a functioning adult. My heart breaks for her as she works so hard to make her sister’s life better, doing as she knows her parents would want her to do and care for her sister. Let’s just face it, being a sibling is hard, but again it has great rewards and the shared history we have can bring us comfort like no other can. Well I guess I better go and place my Sunday calls to my siblings and not forget to tell them that I love them, warts and all.


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One Response to “Miss Bee’s Bolivar Buzz”

  1. Terri Hays says:

    Great article Shannon…..Be grateful for your siblings and parents as one day they will be gone and you may be the only one left…..it’s a very lonely feeling, not being able to ask about them about past family happenings and such!!

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