I am so very thankful to be a sib! Although sibship comes with challenges, heartaches, as well as fabulousness, I feel like I am who I am due to this one integral facet of my life.
Who would I be if I weren’t a sibling of an adult with multiple disabilities?!? Would I be self-absorbed and awful? Would I be cruel to the less fortunate without thinking twice?
Would I even work in the disability field? Would I have chosen a life partner who was as selfless? Would we still be a family who focuses daily on teaching the next generation:
- how to take a stand when others are walking a path we choose to avoid?
- how to use person first language and see someone’s soul rather than anything else that may present itself first?
- how to give more and “need” less?
- how to make the world a better place?
While my siblings and I have drifted apart and back together countless times throughout the years, I feel we all benefit from both the distance and the nearness. We are a regular set of five brothers and sisters, whatever that means. Sometimes we need to drift closer to our spouses’ families during times of trial and tribulation. Sometimes opportunities to travel must be seized. Sometimes friends and career are placed higher on the list of priorities during the seasons of life. Other times we gather in close together to celebrate our family of origin such as at our youngest brother’s wedding last year.
Through thick and thin, joy and sorrow, births, deaths, and marriages, we are us because of our family connections and our opportunity to trek through this journey of sibship. May we strive to continue to be the best siblings we can in each given moment. May we allow ourselves the space to be human. May we forgive ourselves and each other for missteps as we age. May we continue to be examples of love and acceptance.
Happy National Siblings Day to all sibs! Blessed be and sib on!
Sara Hansen, EdD, CED
SLN Vice Chair
Research Associate, Center for Disabilities (SD UCEDD)