national sibling day: our sibling stories

There’s no denying it, being a sibling spells trouble. One little munchkin running around is hard enough without an accomplice ready at hand! But there’s more to having a brother or sister than just making mischief.

What about the funny times? The silly times? The cuddle up and chat times? Here to celebrate all things sibling are four short reminisces from those in the know. We hope they make you laugh in enjoyment and possibly in sympathy too! If you’ve got any funny stories to share in celebration of National Sibling Day, we’d love to hear them.

three of a kind

I grew up with two sisters – I am the deprived middle child born 18 months after the golden first and four years before the spoilt baby (strangely, both my sisters see this a little differently to me!) Growing up with sisters completely shaped my childhood. I looked up to my ‘cool’ older sister and wanted to copy everything about her (she’s still pretty cool now) and loved looking after my ‘baby’ sister. I think the ‘rules of sisters’ means she, in turn, looked at me as the ‘cool’ older sister – hey, I can dream!

When I started thinking about sibling memories, I realised I was lucky to have so many which made me smile. Handstand competitions in the garden, shared picnics on windswept Norfolk beaches, long country walks (which always seemed to be uphill!) to name a few. I think though, my most treasured memories of growing up with my sisters are the smallest moments. Sharing a can of drink with three straws – our faces close together, eyes locked, drinking fast until the straws slurped, and we collapsed in fits of giggles, burps and brain freeze. Each of us claiming to have had the most and each of us not really caring who did.

My sisters are the two people I have a shared history with, they have been my playmates, my roommates, my confidants and my friends. We are so similar even though we are so different and have memories which are only ours. So, whether you’re a biological, half, step, almost, in law, as good as, or any kind of sister – be kind, listen, make memories (and maybe try to be cool?!)

Alison on the beach with her sisters

sisters who “share”

Clothes, make-up, CDs (remember those?) – you name it, I “borrowed” it from my sister’s bedroom when we were growing up. I would empty her shelves faster than a contestant on Supermarket Sweep, helping myself to faded denim, crushed velvet, studded belts and crop tops (all worn without irony during the 90s). The age gap between us caused my older sister's outfits to swamp my tiny frame, but thankfully people were too busy tripping over their Buffalo Boots to notice.

Although our teenage relationship was tense (see above), my sister and I cherish our early childhood memories: forcing our parents to sit through improvised dance routines, playing imaginary games in the garden on golden summer afternoons, holding up “help!” signs to passing motorists during boring car journeys….not to mention countless visits to National Trust locations, the highlight of which was always the tea shop. We would stuff our faces with cake before placing bets on who would be carsick first on the way home.

Years later, my sister and I have survived many milestones, from the loss of a parent to our mum’s homemade haircuts. We speak in sibling shorthand and share a mutual love of horror films, art exhibitions and everything 80s (except for the haircuts – see above). Hopefully, subsequent years of changing my nieces' nappies and decorating scout huts for their birthday parties mean that my Artful Dodger days have been forgiven. I am happy to report that I no longer “borrow” from my sister. Instead, I am relying on my nieces to carry on the tradition - trolleys at the ready, girls!

Kate cuddling her sister

double trouble

“The twins”, or ‘twinkles’ to my parents, is what my sister and I were often called growing up. Mum and Dad didn’t know we were girls until birth because we were so entwined in the womb! I reckon that’s why my sister’s hugs are so good. It’s like we spent the first 9 months of our lives just cuddling each other. Mum probably remembers things a little less serenely (wriggling, kicking and general twin bickering) but I imagine we were model tenants.

Once we were born though, there’s no denying the mischief we got up to. There are old family videos to prove it! From climbing the shelves (and removing the books!) to running off in opposite directions, we were certainly double trouble. On the other hand, sometimes two was a treat. Take mealtimes for instance. We might not have wanted our own food but we were happy to eat each other's! We weren’t to know we’d been given the same thing…

Through all the highs and lows of growing up, I have loved being a twin. There’s no psychic link or anything like that between my sister and I but there’s certainly a sibling bond. And even though we argue sometimes, I wouldn’t change being a twin for the world. At least now we’re older, my food doesn’t get stolen from under my nose!

Twin sisters eating

sibling in the middle

I have always been fortunate enough to count my brother and sister amongst my friends. Now, that’s not to say that we were above our sibling scraps. I can remember tears when my older brother didn’t let me play with him (which wasn’t often in all fairness) and bickering with my roommate of a younger sister. But for the most part, we all got along. Whether that is due to a natural blessing or being forced together by our parents into cars, caravans and chalet’s, I’m not sure, but I’m very grateful for it.

It means that when I think back to my childhood, I’m filled with memories of games of cricket, long days playing in the sea together, or sleepovers in our campervan. Ok, there was that one time Nick nearly crushed me trying to jump over me on his bike. Or the time Lisa stole my favourite Barbie and gave her a haircut. Or when they both decided it was a good idea to spray paint my very pretty purple, sparkly bike entirely white… But I assure you, for the most part we were all absolute angels who loved each other to pieces. Just don’t ask my mum and dad.

Frances with her siblings

So there you have it, a little insight into what being a sibling has meant to us. From rivalries to revelries, having a brother or sister is certainly an experience! If you’ve got children of your own who don’t always get along, don’t worry. We’ve all been through the bickering and come out the other side. That’s because being a sibling outlasts the destroyed toys, dodgy haircuts and difficult days. The embarrassing pictures last a little longer though…


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