My brother looks like he’s going to kill me. Next to my parents’ serene, proud faces, watching their oldest child graduate from college, my brother looks like he’s seriously considering standing up, yelling, “This is the most boring three hours of my life!” and leaving mid-ceremony. “But still,” I remember thinking, “he’s here to support me.”
To some, we are considered a largely apathetic, “whatever” bunch. Nowhere is this idea more refutable than in familial love and support from one sibling to another.
To the untrained eye, my little bro’s lack of enthusiasm at my commencement might speak to a lack of support. But for us, siblings four years apart, who are not particularly close beyond the occasional inside joke or round of Rock Band, my brother’s mere presence is enough. Begrudgingly or not, he’s there. In fact, it means more to me that he is present despite his dislike—it speaks to his love for me that he takes time to NOT enjoy himself. And although I may text my friends or send a quick Twitpic during my brother’s baseball game, and while I may very well spend more time at the concession stand than sitting by the third base line, I’m there, and that’s enough for us.
Another Gen Y cliché, our dependence on technology, becomes a helpful tool when aiding a sibling in crisis. Quite the opposite of my brother and I, my friend and her three siblings are close in age and emotion. They keep up with each others’ day-to-day life through Facebook, Skype, texts and many a phone call. For them, support isn’t just presence, it’s omnipresence. If one sister has a problem, she has five voicemails, three texts and a wall post giving her advice. Every sibling knows best, each one takes a different part in helping sort through the situation at hand, and none are afraid to express their (sometimes too) honest opinion. Until the problem is solved, the possible solutions are everywhere—and so are the sibs.
Reluctant participant or opinionated adviser, supporting a fellow Millennial sibling is about tolerance. We are much more readily accepting of differences than previous generations. You wanna dye your hair blue? That’s cool. You started a World of Warcraft club at your high school? You go, nerd! Oh, you’re gay? Rock on.
Sibling-wise, a sister may hate the other’s hobbies; a brother may disagree completely with his sister’s decisions. One may unceasingly taunt the other about bad habits, a new significant other, or a really bad haircut, but while my friend’s sister is slapping her (hard!) on the hand for biting her nails yet again, she’s reasserting her love, her desire for her sister to be the best person she can possibly be, perfect cuticles included. And while I’m sure my brother thinks I’m a huge nerd for singing a cappella, he’ll still be at every concert, hating every minute of it but accepting it, because he accepts me.
Millennial siblings are present, connected, and tolerant. How do your sibling relationships measure up?