By Peg Cushman
I was incredibly lucky to have had two amazing parents whom I loved dearly. My heart was not ready when I lost Dad, and it felt like a kick in the stomach when Mom died. Scenes of our wonderful life together flashed before my eyes. I thought no one would ever love me the way Mom did. I was wrong; my siblings do.
I never realized what an intense and long-lasting effect my siblings would have on my life. They have taught me so much over the years and provided a positive influence, protecting, comforting and entertaining me. Along with my parents, they were the people I completely trusted.
We are fortunate in that we all get along. We never have disagreements. There is no jealousy; we are happy for each other when something positive happens and are there for one another during the rough patches in life.
We were all with our parents in their final hours, profound moments that were incredibly sad but special because we found the needed strength to move forward together.
Having a large family was normal when my parents were married in 1940, so it was no surprise that they had four children. But we grew up in a unique situation, almost like two different families, because of the years that separated us. My oldest brother Bob and my sister Betsy are only three years apart, while my brother Tom and I are separated by seven years.
I was born on Bob’s 16th birthday. My arrival was probably not the gift he had wanted, but he never complained about sharing his birthday. Even though we are not twins, we have a lot of the same interests. The same can be said for Betsy and Tom, who are very mechanical and can fix anything.
Since I was the youngest, my siblings treated me like I was the most special person on earth and spoiled me. They also paved the way for me, because by the time I was a teenager, my parents had mellowed out. Or perhaps they were just tired! I was in a great position to have taken advantage of the situation but as it turned out, I never gave them much to worry about.
Bob enlisted in the Air Force when I was 4 and Betsy married a few years later. I became an aunt at age 9! My sister’s boys were such a thrill and I loved taking care of them when they visited.
Both of my brothers married wonderful women and had two amazing children each, whom we all adore. Our family was growing then and it was a happy time, especially for Mom and Dad, who loved spending time with their grandchildren and formed special bonds with each one.
For a few short years, my two boys were lucky enough to have their Ging Ging, but he died when they were 5 and 2. It felt so unfair.
Mom always delighted in the love, friendship and respect we shared. She was happiest when we were all together for birthdays, religious events and holidays, which my siblings and I continue to spend together when possible.
Mom was an only child, something that bothered her most of her life, but especially in her later years. She told me that she felt lonely and would have loved the companionship of a sibling, a wonderful experience that unfortunately didn’t touch her life.
I am blessed to have my amazing siblings. They give my life true meaning. They all possess many similar traits; they are kind, compassionate, generous, supportive, funny and hardworking. Siblings are for life and I adore each one in life’s longest-lasting relationship.
“Like branches on a tree, we grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.”
– Author unknown