Having siblings is a blessing in my life.
First, I am one of 6 babies born to my wonderful parents, Homer and Mary Shank.
Their first born, my brother Johnny, died after two days. He was born early at a military hospital and had breathing complications.
It always bothered me that my parents didn’t get to hold him or see him before he died. I can’t imagine how they felt.
Because my mom fell, she went into early labor at only 19 years old. Away from her parents and family, living with Dad on a military base in Virginia, created so many feelings for my parents.
Johnny’s grave is in Virginia. Fortunately, my oldest sister Kathie and her husband Bill, had the insight to take Mom and Dad on a road trip from Ohio to visit his grave and where they lived so many years ago.
Who would have known, Mom would pass away just 3 months later?
Consequently, as I look at the chain of events preceding Mom’s passing, much of them had to do with saying good-bye.
The 4 siblings I grew up with, have been such a support to Dad, as we all have been for each other.
For instance, at their summer home, Dad has my brother Jim and his wife Brenda just two houses away.
Across the street is my Dad’s last living sibling, Aunt Patsy and her husband Uncle Bob.
Kathie and Bill have a place that is like a “guest house” at Erie Landing, that many family members stay when they aren’t using it.
Jim’s son Keltin, lives across the street and across from him is my niece Ashley and family.
Similarly, with many in our family enjoying what Erie Landing Resort has to offer, Dad has lots of activities and family to visit with.
Dad has now headed back to the Toledo home for the winter.
My sister Karen and her husband John, live 6 houses down the street. They have been a wonderful help and support to Mom and Dad over the years, and now Dad, as he’s living alone in the family home.
My sister Carol only lives 10 minutes away. She and Karen do lots of things to help Dad on a regular basis.
I’ve mentioned before that my parents created a very large, loving, close family. 5 children (6 counting Johnny), 16 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren with number 32 due to my daughter and husband, in early March of 2023. Plus all of our spouses. And with the grandkids and great grandkids, and some have significant others.
As a result of the examples my parents set over the 70 1/2 years they were married, all of our large family have the opportunity to carry so much out into the world.
Now at the age of 67, (in my mind I’m still 35!), as I continue to look at my life, myself and my relationships, I feel an intense honor to have grown up in the family I have.
My siblings and their families, mean so much to me.
Therefore, being the only one of them, that lives away from the Toledo, Ohio area, I make regular trips back.
However, I know I missed so much over the years, not living there. I cherish each time I’m there.
One thing I did get to experience, since I didn’t live there, was staying at the home I grew up in, with Mom and Dad. Even sleeping in my old bedroom!
As I spent lots of quality time with Dad and Mom over the years, we stayed very close.
I wasn’t there for all of their birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s and Father’s Days. I often have wished I could “twitch my nose” and just be there.
So, as I look at the picture of my life, in relation to my siblings and parents, I do my best to let them know how much they mean to me and how blessed I am to have them.
Also, I have always spent every Thanksgiving and Christmas, (except in 2020 during Covid, my Mom’s last on this earth) at my parents. Those two holidays would not have been the same, without being there.
Finally, we have all been blessed to grow up in the family we did. We all know this. We’ve talked about it.
I’m hoping you will show whomever in your life you love, what they mean to you.
Life is so very precious isn’t it?
With love and appreciation,
PS. As children, siblings don’t always get along. Perhaps, at times during adulthood either.
Here are 5 reasons why siblings are a blessing:
PSS. Me and my siblings in the photos below!