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How to Get Your Winter Glow On

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

You want to know a great way to beat the winter blahs? Glow your way through those gray days and skin-drying frosts! A little less sunshine and indoor exposure to heat blasts through vents doesn’t have to leave you looking dull. Here are some simple ways to get a winter glow going!

Sun up. I’ve mentioned before that I love Maybelline’s BB (Beauty Balm) foundations and the numerous reasons why, which include the dewy finish, its 30 spf skin protection, and its moisturizing effect. So, for me, it was a natural transition to the Bronze BB for my summer make-up routine. I ended up using it long after summer was over because of the sun-kissed look it gives.  For the winter glow (versus I-just-got-back-from-my-virtual-tropical-location look), stick to the shade that is closest to your natural skin tone.

Baby kisses. I realize Maybelline isn’t the first brand that pops to mind when we’re talking about more mature skin, but the same qualities that make it a more youth-oriented product are the qualities that make it a great choice to add glow at any age. Baby Skin Instant Cheek Flush is a favorite of mine because of the sheerness and, well. . . the instant flush you get with a quick swipe! This isn’t all-day hearty color, it’s more of quick pinch to the cheeks without the ouch-factor!

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

Sassy scarves. Adding a pop of color around your neck can reflect up and warm your skin tone. Try one with some metallic threads, sequined fringed, or a bit of sparkle to get the winter glow to grow!

Hair Dare. Balk at the notion that only summer hair can shimmer and winter hair needs to have warmer hues. Add some traditional highlights for a sun-kissed look. Feeling a little more adventurous?  Add a playful glint with a few strands of hair tinsel or hair flare!

Effervescent earrings. I’m not talking about serious bling here – we’re going for a glint. A bit of eye-catching sparkle that seems like a dusting of new sparkly snow.

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

Pop eyes. We’ve been told for years that women of a certain age shouldn’t wear eyeshadow with frost in it. Pishaw! Well, maybe that baby-blue frosted eyeshadow concoction that seemed to circulate through every junior high in America during a particular decade should be avoided, but don’t shun the metallic shimmer. My favorite for a little sparkle is the bronzed Loreal duo pictured below (color 910).

Eye additions. Speaking of eyes, reading glasses come in some fun options. Bring on the glow with a smattering of sparkle across the top of the frames or a glint of glitter on the sides.

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

Shimmering smiles. I love Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick. Excuse me for sounding a bit like a commercial here, but it really is moisturizing and comes in great colors with finishes that range  from a soft gleam to pearlized. And all for a reasonable drugstore price. I didn’t realize how many different colors I have in this line until I was rummaging through my stash looking for the correct names of my favorites to pass on to you. So, my personal top two go-tos are Rosewine (for a neutral gleam) and Toast of New York for a bit of bronzed pizzaz!

Let’s celebrate winter! Ready? Set? GLOW!








How to Make Your Peepers POP Behind Glasses

How to Make Your Peepers Pop Behind Glasses


There are great eyeglass choices out there these days – studious, whimsical, retro – something for every personality. But no matter how much pizazz your frames have, your eyes should still be the stars of your face. Often the eyes end up with a facial supporting role, the sparkle dimmed by a layer of glass and lashes that disappear behind frames. It’s time to get those orbs back to center stage! Here are 5 tips to get those peepers to POP from behind glasses:

  1. Add a little line. Take a dark eyeliner pencil and line from the inner corner of your eye to the lash line. A little line with a lot of defining power. This is a regular part of Drew Barrymore’s bespectacled beauty routine!

How to Make Your Peepers Pop Behind Glasses

2. Go nude. Don’t go off topic here – we’re still talking make-up, people. (Remember, we’re trying to keep the focus on the eyes.) Many of us adopted the tried-and-true Hollywood-habit of lining the inside of our lower lids with white pencil to brighten the appearance of our eyes. Unfortunately, donning glasses can turn soft emphasis into racing-stripes. To avoid the harsh effect, trade your white pencil for a nude shade like this waterproof pencil from Rimmel.

How to Make Your Peepers Pop Behind Glasses

3. Modify mascara. All my make-up-wearing life I purchased only mascara that promised to add yards to my lash-length. If the lashes didn’t tickle my eyebrows, the mascara wasn’t doing its job! I hung onto that goal long after eyeglasses became part of my daily wardrobe and lash-tips were hidden behind frames. The only evidence of the impressive length was the less-than-impressive smears across the glass where my lashes bumped up against it as the day wore on. Then I saw a tip from a make-up pro who suggested focusing on lash thickness rather than length. What? That would require a whole-new mindset! Remembering my commitment to embrace change, I plunged right into a brand new way of doing things. Just take your mascara up to the half-way point of your lashes, then wiggle the wand left and right a few times. That action bulks up the middle of the lashes and creates a natural-looking frame for the eye that can be seen through the glass!

How to Make Your Peepers Pop Behind Glasses

4. Tame the brows. To aovid the Groucho Marx effect, smooth scraggly brows. You don’t need to invest in brow wax or a specialized product – you’ve already got what you need for this lightweight job. Dot a little hair gel, dab a little petroleum jelly, or give a quick once-over with chapstick to smooth away anything that distracts from your smiling eyes!

How to Make Your Peepers Pop Behind Glasses

5. Set the light. A shear touch of color on top of your cheek bones, directly under each eye, gives off a glow that sets of your popping peeps beautifully! I liked Maybelline’s Baby Skin Instant Cheek Flush – the name says it all!

How to Make Your Peepers Pop Behind Glasses



Fledglings All!

FledglingsALLMy husband and I recently discovered a Bald Eagle’s nest on a visit to check out some hiking trails. Well, didn’t actually discover it – it has been there and been monitored, celebrated, and photographed for several years now. We had noted signs posted at the park’s entrance asking hikers to jot down any sightings of bald eagles and/or osprey spotted while hiking. Cool, I thought – but, realistically, what are the odds of seeing a bald eagle and its nest? As we walked, the bam-bam-bam of the ‘next door’ rifle range negated any peace and quiet of a nature hike. Well, there goes any chance of seeing bald eagles I mused – they certainly aren’t going to nest in an area with guns being fired.

We  wove in and out of a rather large group of hikers (?) set up on the trail with tripods and spotting scopes etc. We paid them very little mind other than to think they must be hopeful bird watchers who obviously were not realists! On our way out of the park, we happened upon a man with some ‘taxidermed’ eagles and osprey in the back of his open van. Again, I made an assumption thinking probably part of the field trip of fledgling-bird watchers back there on the trail. I, of course, have to strike up a conversation when confronted with such a unique opportunity! Steve was wonderfully knowledgeable about eagles and osprey and the history of the eagles and osprey that reside right there in the park where we had just hiked. In fact, we had walked right past the Osprey tower with adults and chicks in the nest. And those optimistic bird watchers that we so casually dismissed were looking at an eagles nest with an eaglet in the nest!!! Holey Moley!

Real. Live. Actual. In the wild. Bald Eagles!!!

I may be of an advanced age, but I have never seen a bald eagle in the wild before. I was so geeked about it! While standing there absorbing all this information, we were joined by a local bird expert and a local photographer who is the ‘official’ photographer for these eagles. Plans were set to return in the evening (optimal viewing time) with some binoculars and scopes of our own.

Let me just say that I have returned almost every other day since our ‘discovery’ to check on this soon-to-be fledgling eaglet. I don’t want to miss a single thing! I can hardly bear the thought of his/her taking that first fledgling flight without my being there to witness. I have seen him/her doing its ‘wing-ercizing’ (flapping very impressive baby wings and hopping around). I have seen an adult return to the nest with dinner to share with the eaglet (did you know eagles do not regurgitate food into their little one’s mouths, not even when they are new hatchlings?) and then soar back out of the nest.

I feel like a fledgling in a way.

Like a school kid again, about to embark on a learning journey about something so cool that I want to tell the whole world about it! I have this new information, this new skill, this new urge to discover more about this eagle family that I have somehow become quite vested in.

I love the feeling!

This is just one example of things we ‘pass by’ each day unaware of the opportunities missed by our ‘blinders-on-trek’ through our days. We should all continually look for those fledgling opportunities out there waiting to be embraced. Discover a new interest, a new challenge, or a different way of doing something that energizes us and makes us ask question after question after question and seek information from as many sources as we can imagine.

Let’s go be fledglings! It just might make you feel lighter than air!




10 Ideas to Care for the Caregiver

10 Ideas to Care for the Caregiver

Whether it’s for aging parents, special needs children, or relatives with health issues, providing substantial care for another can take a toll on the one providing the care. Some of you have walked – or are walking – this path and have experienced the physical, emotional, or financial challenges involved. Most of us know someone who is a caregiver and stand in awe of the commitment that goes into providing such care regardless of whether it is by choice or necessity. And many of us wonder if there is a way we can help ease the burden, even just a little, for someone we care about who is caring for another. Here are 10 ideas to give your favorite caretaker a break and put a smile on his or her face!

  1. Let them chunk the chore. Some things just have to get done whether we want to make time for them or not – like walking the dog or cleaning the house. And sometimes less-crucial chores get put off to the point where they become crucial – mowing the lawn, weeding a garden, repairing a broken step. Pick a chore, any chore, and get it done. You may have to coordinate something like cleaning their house, but weeding, mowing, bringing the trashcan up to the house after pick-up and the like can just magically happen. And you get to be the magician!
  2. Send flowers. A delivery of something lovely gives a momentary escape. Who thought of me? How beautiful! What a fresh scent! And thereafter provides a week or so of color that will be a reminder that someone appreciates their efforts. Now notice I said flowers. No plants, please. And no handfuls of flowers handed to them that they have to go find a vase for and take time to arrange. The whole point is to give them a mini break, not create another obligation to provide care.
  3. Provide respite. If it is possible for the caregiver to leave the house if their charge is supervised, volunteer your time to do the supervising so your friend can get out of the house for a few hours and take care of some needs or wants.
  4. Provide mini-respite. If the caregiver can’t leave their charge in the care of someone who is not specially trained, you can still provide respite right in their home. Have your pal pick a time when his charge is occupied by a favorite program or napping, and come hang out while your friend takes a luxurious bath, reads for an uninterrupted hour, or hangs out with his dog in the backyard. You will have provided him a miro-vacation!
  5. Dub yourself Sir Secret Pal. Send anonymous little gifts or uplifting notes randomly, signed Your Secret Pal. Sure it may drive them a little crazy, but in a good way – a way that will have them looking forward to the run to the mailbox! I’ve been on both sides of the Secret Pal relationship, and I can tell you first-hand that sending the loot will put a smile on your face, too. And to receive unexpected pick-me-ups such as a fun mug with a box of tea, a refrigerator magnet with an inspirational saying, or a good-for-nothing-but-a-chuckle bobblehead bird provided more than one well-needed smile!
  6. Be the entertainment. Caregiving can be a lonely job. While telephone and social media provide outlets for other human contact, verbal or written exchanges are no substitute for some face-to-face time with someone who’s willing to listen, distract, or provide opportunities for laughter – whatever is needed. Schedule a time when a visit would be appreciated and bring a little fun – a humorous DVD (with some movie-food, of course!) or new boardgame you can figure out together.
  7. Organize meals on wheels. Or meals on heels. However the group wants to get them there. Get a few volunteers – maybe friends, church members, book clubbers – to each drop off one meal a month. Have a designated day so that your care-giving friend can count on Mondays “off.”
  8. Create a Spa Day. If they can’t get out for a little pampering, how about sending a credentialed massage therapist to them? There are beauticians, manicurists and facialists who can be hired for housecalls, too.
  9. Give the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re up for a splurge or have a group kicking in on it, a gift-of-the-month club can be a perfect answer to the question: what can we do to help? From fruit to bacon, coffee to beer, knitting to puzzling, there’s a gift-of-the-month-club match no matter what your friend’s favorite food, beverage, or hobby is.
  10. Provide special thanks. Help the recipient of care thank the caregiver themself. Guiding them through a simple craft, assisting them with writing a note, or taking dictation or cues from them to memorialize their thoughts can have multiple benefits. You may provide an outlet for the charge to express appreciation. And your favorite caregiver may receive a tangible  expression of appreciation that would not otherwise have been possible.

NOTE: AARP offers a free download of its e-manual The AARP Guide to Caregiving that can be very helpful.  The manual covers topics such as health, housing, legal matters, emotional transitions, and available resources. You can also do an on-line search of the title to find a pdf version that can be downloaded directly to your computer.







Stop Trying to Save Toads

Stop Trying to Save Toads

I see them flailing from my kitchen window. I know if I don’t help, I’ll find them lifeless in the skimmer later. So I stop what I’m doing and head out to save more toads. One would think I’d be a Toad Hero, right? But no. They actually fight my attempts to save them, diving toward the pool bottom or skittering away across the water surface. They dodge the life-saving shallow net I dip in to carry them to safety.

Each successful save is lifted out of the pool and gently turned out on the grass. Yet I receive no grateful croaks. Some of the toads, without even taking a few minutes to enjoy their new lease on life, head straight back toward the enticing water. They’ve already forgotten their panic-stricken flailing from moments before – they only have eyes for the sparkling surface ahead. You just can’t save a toad that is determined to jump back in the pool.

If you have a toad in your life, one that races back to the water no matter how many times you have scooped it out and laid it in the gentle arms of safety, you have two choices. You can either scoop until your arms finally give out, or you can acknowledge and accept the fact that toads have no heroes.

Albert Einstien probably had toads in mind when he said the following: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

Celebrating National Johnny Appleseed Day

Johnny Appleseed StampSeptember 26 is National Johnny Appleseed Day. For those of you who may not be familiar with this oft-overlooked holiday, here’s the lowdown on who Johnny is and how to celebrate the day!

I know when I worked with 3rd graders, Johnny Appleseed was celebrated and taught with enthusiasm. He is an affable American hero that we can all be thankful for. Even if you don’t like apples or apple pies or apple fritters or applesauce or apple muffins or dried apples or bobbing for apples or making apple witches (seriously – does anyone not like something here?)… you can enjoy the story and legend behind his germination of apple orchards throughout the Midwest Ohio River region.

John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, was born September 26, 1774 – hence the timing of Johnny Appleseed Day. Rumor has it Johnny’s orchard smock was made from a coffee sack with holes cut out for arms and he wore his cooking pot on his head while traveling. Can’t verify that is true, but it does make for some great graphics for posters and children’s books.

JA was able to acquire large tracts of land from western Pennsylvania along the Ohio River on which he transported 16 bushels of apple seeds and saw to their plantings. At that time, certain requirements were set before the colonies granted land rights. There was an act defining how the land was to be used.


 Why should we care about the lowly apple? Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist and noted author, took time to pen the following related to the timing of men’s and apple’s appearance on the earth.



So.. here at FBFGF, we offer the following apple related choices for your celebration of Johnny Appleseed Day:

  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin: A great book about the life of an orchardist. It’s fiction that rings true. The story revolves around William Taldrage’s care of his apple and apricot orchard and the peace and solace it provides him. It also provides insight into the thinking and hard work of a dedicated and professional nurseryman. For some time I have nurtured the fantasy of being an orchardist, but details like hard work and commitment didn’t enter in to muddy my fantasy!


The Orchardist

  • Apple Butter. Who could resist the opportunity to have this great smelling concoction simmering away while enjoying a lovely fall day full of your favorite pursuits?? Click on the picture for a great recipe courtesy of Cooking Light.


  • Baked Apples. My husband and I found these pottery dishes for baking individual apples. (This must have been in one of the in-between times when we didn’t have any chicks that had yet to return to the nest and individual dishes seemed like a great idea.) We just wash the apple, core it, place it in the dish and cover with cinnamon, brown sugar, whatever other spices look great and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. This is one of our favorite desserts!


  • Apple Products. Mac Book, ipad, iphone – all great devices which can add new dimension to your busy lifestyle and streamline certain processes. They also teach great lessons in why we don’t always need to be connected to our great devices. We can use the apple logo to remind us to get out and enjoy the natural things in life from time to time. I’ll bet there’s an app for that!!!


  • Apple Cider/Wine. I feel wine of any sort really needs no explanation. If you feel like making your own apple wine, click on the picture for instructions. If you would rather just pick up a bottle, I am sure this seasonal wine is available at a great artisanal wine shop somewhere near you!



Take some time to celebrate the versatile apple and give thanks for all it’s history and delightful pleasures!!


Bonus Apple Facts:

  • Scientists believe that apples were first domesticated in the Tian Shan region of southern Kazakhstan. In fact, by as early as 2000 BC, domesticated apples were being grafted in the Near East.
  • The Greeks and Romans introduced the domesticated apple to North Africa and Europe during their trading and conquests.


Travelin’ Light(er)

Travelin' Light(er)

Just got back from a 16-day road trip. Following my usual post-travel routine, the morning after arriving home I pulled out the bathroom scale, stepped on, breathed deeply, and peered through squinted eyes at the numbers. I’d gained two pounds. HURRAY!!

Okay, weight gain is not a reason for me to celebrate, but considering on one trip I’d gained a pound per day, and many of my vacations have set the progress of my health goals back months, two pounds seems very manageable.

So what was different this time? Though I’m not officially an expert on fitness and nutrition, I think I can safely assume the following factors made the difference.

  •  I shifted my perspective. Previously, I ate my way through trips. In the car. In the hotel. At fast food and chain restaurants and friends’ houses. It was as if eating on vacation didn’t count. (It didn’t – until I got home.) This time, I put the purposes of our journey – to see some amazing sights and visit family and friends – as the focus. Once I mentally established we were not on a culinary expedition, it was easier to modify a few unhealthy travel habits.
  •  I made smart eating choices when possible. At home, my first meal is sometimes the only healthy eating of my day. So when faced with the sugar and empty calorie-laden breakfast offerings in hotels, I opted for plain oatmeal, egg, and fruit. At fast food lunch stops, I looked for salads or grilled chicken in small sizes. On-the-road dinners were similar, or, if we both acknowledged not really being hungry, we supped on the cheese, crackers, nuts and fruits we’d brought with us.
  • I brought along a variety of in-transit entertainment. I admit it. Traditionally, much of my in-car and hotel eating is just something to do rather than hunger-based. This time I packed a car-bag like I might for kids, except the “kid” was me. It included audio books (which the G-man and I picked out together from the local library,) my tablet (books and games,) some magazines, and a few simple crochet projects. And, of course, there were some nibbles: fruit, nuts, Kind bars. The crochet kept my hands busy while listening to stories, and I actually completed a couple items.
  • Finally, I took advantage of natural opportunities to move. Fitness rooms in hotels were sometimes an option, but I think the little bits of movement made a bigger difference. Parking at the far end of rest stops and fast food lots allowed for more walking. As the official loader and un-loader of our vehicle, I engaged in daily bouts of bending, stretching, lifting, pushing, and power walking. (We travel like the Beverly Hillbillies!) We walked some tourist stops; I walked with friends while we visited. It all adds up.

I certainly don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking I was extraordinarily virtuous. Au contraire! Some days were flat-out sedentary. At the homes of friends and family, I ate and enjoyed (too much of) whatever was served. Including desserts. I indulged in the specialties of wineries and breweries and regional restaurants we visited. Instead of elevating the mundane (hotel food) and commonplace (chain restaurants) to vacation-worthy status, I contained the splurging to culinary delights I don’t have access to at home.

It was definitely worth the two pounds!

What’s YOUR favorite Travelin’ Light(er) tip?


Natine at Write-Minded WomanGuest blogger Natine Abreu-Shaw  is a recalibrated woman of the Sandwich Generation, who enjoys writing and occasionally  mines her mind, flexes her fingers, and publishes her pith at Write-MindedWoman.com – when she is able to take a break from  some of her other pet (pun intended!) projects – such as writing as the persona of her fur-kids at their Facebook home Corgi Characters!

What’s the Ingredient You Can’t Live Without?

What's the Ingredient You Can't Live Without?

What is your go-to food prep ingredient? You know – the one that adds zing to what’s cooked, crunch to what’s not, or a bit of magic to what’s baked? That one ingredient you just can’t live without. OK – “can’t live without” may be a bit dramatic. Let’s put it this way: if you were taking a trip where you would have to prepare food (already provided!) at your destination and could only take one ingredient to add to it, what do you toss in your suitcase?

Here are my top five contenders:

5. Kale. I know – mere months ago I was balking at the thought of it being so pervasive it was  added to ice cream. But I have seen the light! I have gone from grudgingly tossing it into salads and smoothies as a virtuous nod to healthy eating, to feeling the fridge is bare without it. In addition to kale taking over my salads, it adds stamina to sandwiches and great texture to stir fry. I’m still not buying it as a dessert, though.

4. Garlic. It goes with everything. Some even swear it works with ice cream – although I haven’t tested that theory. So maybe I should say it goes with all things savory. It is the starting point to most of my cooked dishes and an accompaniment to many that aren’t.

3. Sliced almonds. I actually keep some in a ziplock snack bag in my purse. They add substance to yogurt and satisfying crunch to salads. A little sprinkling goes a long way and adds positive nutritional value for minimal calories.

2. Mace. There – it’s out. My secret ingredient for baked goods. It’s one of two secret ingredients for my stellar banana bread recipe. (No, I’m absolutely not divulging the second one!) For those of you not familiar with mace, I kind of think of it as nutmeg that’s been empowered. For a concise explanation of the difference between mace and nutmeg and what each works best with, click HERE. Good stuff!

But if I follow the rules I have asked you to follow by picking only one to toss in my suitcase? I’d have to go with:

1. Red pepper flakes. An absolute must for pizza paring, but a delightful optional contribution to so much more. They can turn bland into BAM! They add a controllable heat level to what was formerly flat. They add zip to soup, stews, eggs, bread – even chocolate. Those foil packets of red pepper flakes that are given away at pizza parlors (along with the parmesan cheese) can be found in my glove compartment, my office cupboard and my desk drawer. So please don’t take it personally if one happens to fall out of my purse while I’m eating dinner at your house – it’s no reflection on your cooking!

So what’s that one ingredient that YOU can’t live without?

Lessons From the Airport

 I just returned from what has become my tri-annual trip to Swan Lake. With hours of delay, I had plenty of time to enjoy the airport experience. One would think after all these years of traveling I’d have the whole process down pat. I wear shoes that slide off, have my quart-size plastic bag with liquids (no more than 4 ounces!) easily accessible, have nothing in my pockets, my ticket in one hand and my I.D in the other. And yet, each visit to the airport is educational. Here are five lessons I learned during my airport time on this trip.

1. The special alerts you receive on your phone are not necessarily reflected on the Departure Boards. After receiving two such alerts indicating my plane was going to be an hour and a half late departing, I left the house thirty minutes later than I had originally planned. Which still would get me there plenty early. So imagine my horror when I casually stroll in the airport and note on the Departure Board that my flight has a proud “ON TIME” next to the original departure time. Which was only six minutes away. I learned a couple more lessons before I picked up on the one about the board not reflecting the most current flight info.

2. If you only have underwire left on one side of your bra, you become a suspect. Two strips of metal under your breasts and you have good support. Apparently just one metal strip leads to the assumption you may have a concealed weapon in addition to being lopsided.

3. Freaking out and demanding that the security agent “Feel me faster” actually speeds up the process. I don’t think that is the usual response they get. Whether I had taken the fun out of the event or the agent was responding sympathetically I don’t know. What I do know is she abruptly stopped the search and told me to “just go.” Please keep in mind that I was quite sure my plane was already rolling down the runway – I think they can sense sincerity.

4. Your slip-off shoes should also be running shoes. Because if you are late, your plane will be at the terminal farthest away. Guaranteed. This is also true if you only think you are late. During my long, less-than-gazelle-like run, I had visions of running out to the runway screaming for the plane to stop. Imagine my surprise when my winded self arrived at a full terminal of lounging passengers. Fortunately I didn’t have enough breath in me to utter the words that first popped into my head when it was confirmed that the flight was indeed going to be delayed two more hours.

5. Bonding with fellow passengers is not always a two-way event. There was a lovely family of four seated directly across from me in the waiting area. The little boy was loaded with questions and each received a patient, informative response from his father. I got to know a lot about them in a half hour. In our kill-some-time wanderings, I passed the toddler and his dad twice in airport shops. When I encountered them a third time at a snack counter, I gave the dad a big smile and said hello. What I got back was a blank face as he scooted his child a little faster than necessary in the opposite direction. OK – so maybe it wasn’t so much a shared experience as it was eavesdropping. Lesson learned.

What’s YOUR most memorable airport lesson?


Celebrating Siblings

sibling science

The sibling relationship is one of the most complex I can imagine. Either a tie or a very close second to the complexity of child/parent relationship. While friendships and spouse relations can certainly be complicated, at least you’ve signed up for them. And, if the very worst happens, you can terminate them. Not so with siblings! Sure, you can terminate interaction if you choose, but you’re still siblings.

Sibling DayEver discover your sibling’s recollection or interpretation of a given event so differs from yours it makes you wonder if you’re talking about the same thing? I find it fascinating that people raised by the same parents in the same environment have such different takes on the whole experience. And, of course, it’s all colored by the relationship each had with the parents and how the environment affected each. Complicated, or what? So love-hate, so yin-yang.

I have heard about families where the siblings grow up as inseparable best friends. While it sounds lovely, that is not the family I was raised in. But I have found over the years, that the same two and three year gaps that made me an outcast in my teen-aged sister’s and brother’s world are pretty negligible now. And the four year age difference between me and my “little brother” are irrelevant in this phase of life.

One frustration in the mix is having so much information about each other that sometimes we don’t recognize, or have recognized, the personal growth that each has older siblingundergone. Maybe because my three siblings and I have all lived in different states for decades, this is heightened in our case. Or maybe because no matter how evolved, mature, and confident we all get, there is some regression when interacting with siblings.

I realize that on the other side of the best-friend-sibling’s rosy spectrum, there are the caustic sibling relationships that can be irreparable. Or the unrealized relationships that did not get to evolve because of illness, death, or some other form of loss. Whatever the relation, it contributes to our own growth, how we view the world, and the decisions we make. Did I mention this was complicated? I mean libraries of books have been written on this stuff!

Sibling DayWhat I do know is that no one else in the whole world knows my origins and what my young life was like more than these siblings. Even though sometimes it is years between visits with each other, we just talk. Conversations never start out with “My father was the type of man . . . ” or “when I was growing up . . . ” because we know. We all understand that each experienced some harsh disciplines, heightened expectations in our childhood that eventually served us well, the fruition of parental wisdom, and an appreciation for how and where we grew up that isn’t possible in the youthful moment. This adult-sibling bond cemented by shared history is what I celebrate.

And now, I have recently learned, that there is actually a day of the year to commemorate such bonds. While Mother’s Day and Father’s Sibling DayDay have been federalized and on the calendars for decades, National Sibling Day is a relative newcomer. Claudia Evart, a freelance paralegal from Manhattan, New York, got things started. After losing both her sister and brother at an early age, she took on the mission of establishing a recognized day to honor the sibling relationship. April 10, the birthday of the sister Claudia lost, has been designated as National Sibling Day. While it hasn’t been federalized yet, it is recognized as a state holiday in 39 states and the organization Claudia founded, the Siblings Day Foundation, is working to expand that number.

To celebrate National Sibling Day, we can phone, text, email, or visit that special sibling. As a matter of fact, the Siblings Day Foundation would be happy to send a sibling e-card for you! If you have lost a loved sibling, you might celebrate with contacting another who loved them and sharing a memory or honor them with an act of kindness done in their name. Well, I’m off – I have a few phone calls to make!

Happy Siblings Day!