You may be a CEO, church leader, or successful entrepreneur but when you and your siblings get together, everyone reverts to six years old, especially if you are back in your parents’ home.

My husband and his brother were senior citizens and still teased and poked each other when we’d visit. They were like two little boys with mischievous smiles. One look and you knew they were up to something.

My siblings and I aren’t much different. We enjoy each other’s company and are close friends. But we also share that unique sibling relationship of cohorts and competitors. We gather for birthdays, holidays, celebrations, and just because. Through the years we’ve supported each other financially, emotionally, and physically. And we are blessed with spouses who delightfully add to the mix.

When my mother was at the end of her life our family stood around Mom’s bed. It was an emotional time as we watched our mother slipping away. We prayed, held Mom’s hand, talked quietly among ourselves, and cried.

At one point my mother appeared to barely be breathing. She motioned for my sister, Patti, to come closer. The rest of us looked at each other. Why did Mom want Patti? What special last words did she have for her and not us? Mom always did like Patti best.

Patti knelt next to our mother. We stood silently, straining to learn that precious message.

And then we all heard it. We heard those memorable last words.

“Cut your hair,” Mom said to Patti. “You look terrible.”

Patti cried. The rest of us laughed. A perfect sibling moment.

(The photo above was taken Christmas, 1967. From left to right: John Michael, Mary Kathleen, Patti Ann, Margaret Ellen, James Joseph)

©Mary K. Doyle

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