As parents age, siblings reunite.
Sometimes the best reunions are the smallest ones. This is certainly the case when reuniting with your siblings. Whether you spent your childhood in battle mode, or sharing every secret, the bond between you and your brothers and sisters never really waivers. Unfortunately, as you acquire kids, grandkids and ever demanding jobs, relationships with your siblings can become distant.
Often, in a repeat of history, it is the parents who bring their adult offspring back together. These reunions are of necessity, rather than for nostalgia. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, many are thrown into the role of caretaker for one or both aging parents. Caring for parents requires decisions must be made that require consensus or at least a discussion among all brothers and sisters.
Once the stress of caring for parents takes its toll, you might find that you and your siblings revert back to younger roles in the family, with all of the accompanying arguments.
To preserve you relationship with between brothers and sisters, take some time to reunite as a group, without your parents. Meet at a home or, better still, rent a vacation home, hotel or resort.
Some sibling reunitees prefer to limit the group to just brothers and sisters; others extend the invitation to spouse and even the next generation of offspring. Whoever is invited, all should make a pact not to discuss caretaking issues except during a single predetermined time. The reunion is a respite from that stress.
While planning for a sibling reunion is fairly simple, as is the agenda, these little family get togethers have a number of emotional benefits for brothers and sisters who are in the midst of a role reversal with their own parents. They allow you to:
1. Reestablish relationships in a neutral setting. Let’s face it; we are no more apt to agree with our siblings over the care of parents than we did over who got to drive the family car on Friday night. With stakes so high (this is after all Mom and Dad, the two most important people in our lives), anger and frustration can rise to a new high. It may be hard to remember that our siblings are not the enemy. To maintain our relationships we need to step away from the source of stress and reunite in neutral territory.
2. Hand the torch to the next generation. Ready or not, you and your siblings are now the senior generation of the family. It’s time to set back, relax and watch the next generation start new jobs, get a mortgage, raise a family, and perhaps benefit from your experience. While it may take a bit of getting used to, being in the wizened generation has its perks!
3. Recall the good old days from a different perspective. Ever wonder what your brother was thinking when…? Well now you can find out, from the safety of adulthood. There is no doubt that everyone will start to reminisce, but now you will get to know the back story!
4. Set the stage for a better long term relationship with your siblings. With the benefit of experience and age, you may find that you like your brothers and sisters more now than you did as a child.