Move Over Parents, Sibling Empty Nest Syndrome Is A Thing, Too

Your parents are your people for the first part of your life. Friends and partners (though you might have met them in childhood) tend to consume the latter. But siblings? Siblings are whole life relationships.

I have every kind of dynamic with my four siblings: the frayed, the friendly, the inseparable. But no other kind of love trumps it – not even the one I have for my parents. There’s a unique bond you share with your siblings. They truly, madly, deeply get you.

With parents, there’s still an air of authority you have to respect. Add cultural expectations into the mix, and you can end up with a relationship that rests on fulfilling responsibilities, caretaking (first them for you, then you for them) and the sort of generational divide that can hinder genuine connection.

As close as you may be with your parents, do they know exactly the person you are? Do they know all the wild things you did on holiday or where you went every time you said you were going to a ‘friend’s’? And if you have a language barrier with them, do they know how funny or witty or radical you can be?

Do they see that side to you? You know who does. Siblings. Even at times when you’re not getting on. The eye-rolling understanding and irrevocable camaraderie I get from my siblings can’t be matched. And it was only when they started leaving home that I realised the gaping hole they leave behind.

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