I had a taste of sibling rivalry with the youngest, who lived at home until I left for college: he and I bickered over the remote control and the couch and the J. But for the most part, I had a separate, and different, childhood from my brothers: I went to the private school where my mother worked, instead of the local public schools as they did; as a kid I took trips with my parents to visit family and sightsee while my brothers stayed home. Still, I sometimes cringe when I hear one of my nieces call her by her name instead of "Grandma." Still, I feel pangs of envy when my brothers reminisce about childhood friends from the neighborhood who I never got to know. I have a 43 year old half brother and the rest follow not far apart. Just a nice card every few years with ten bucks in it.
"You can be mean to me," I said, "but you have to be nice to him."My father married his first wife, Jackie-his high school sweetheart-in 1965.
” she sighed to me over iced teas at a Park Slope coffee shop. And then there are people, people like me and A, for whom they are a persistent struggle.
It reminded me of a conversation I once had with my brother R. But, baby steps: in NY, I borrowed bathing suits from my best friend and sister-in-law. There’s something about the quality of his voice: it’s so urgently sincere–I can’t help but believe him just as urgently.
Not only am I my mother's only child, but I'm the youngest, and the only girl. Copyright 2011 by Elizabeth Tannen A touching, intelligent and wonderfully well-written piece. You asked: So why would it be different for half/step siblings? For many children, the use of "half" is awkward and uncomfortable. In some families wether the mother or father will be cruel. I did not add any of them but rather let them find me. After telling some of my coworkers and friends my sibling situation, instead of a nice responce I recieved more of a shock and a look that said 'that's emberassing.' After hundreds of thousands of looks like this I soon decided to stop telling my story and just let people think I was an only child. I had people in my life that knew me better than my own half "brothers." Also there is a movie called "People Like Us." Look it up.
Once, in high school, I marched up to my parents' room and righteously berated my father for being more strict with me than he'd been with my brothers. I think it probably DOES capture what a lot of siblings in similar situations feel under the circumstances. And I, too, would love to know what my brothers would say! The answer, I think, is in the individual's perception. They prefer "brother" or "sister." To many who are half siblings, keeping it simple avoids having to explain the connection..so many with half siblings do, in fact, consider themselves "whole" siblings--truly connected and supportive. Not because they don’t want to love other the attachment with the child. I have a 43 year old half brother and the rest follow not far apart. Just a nice card every few years with ten bucks in it.