Brothers & Sisters…

Last weekend my little brother had a terrible accident when the chainsaw he was using slipped sawing into his foot. Immediately in shock he remembers looking down at what seemed to him like a clump of sawdust (his sock) and then the realisation of blood, a lot of blood…

Just a few fields away from my house and alone he called a number of people before he could get help.  After a few days in hospital and surgery he is thankfully now on the road to recovery but thoughts of the ‘what might have been’ variety tortured me for days because Colm is my brother, we are five, and a band of (in my case) one brother and three sisters is the greatest strength in the world!

For once both primal instincts and science agree.  Studies show that the sibling relationship is…

‘The most influential and longest guaranteed relationship of your life.’

Even it seems for the many siblings who drift apart somewhere in the middle, most will find that they drift back together again as they get older, good news for those that find themselves adrift!

Brothers and sisters are the ones who truly share our lives, for better or worse, from cradle to grave, they are with us for the whole journey.

Among the things I love about having a brother and sisters are everyone talking together, subject hopping and the unparalleled fun of sibling abuse!  The easy camaraderie, being completely you and everyone has to put up with it!  Long conversations and the, now rare opportunities to be all of us together because that’s when you are strongest and fully yourself, reflected and accepted in the others.

When it came to my having or not having children of my own I confess the biggest influence by far was that I had siblings.  Like it or not this was my family blueprint and something I wanted for any child of my own was at least one partner in crime.  I don’t doubt, in fact I’m sure there are many advantages for the only child that’s just not my blueprint, I’m hardwired for the mayhem of the crowd and I wouldn’t have it any other way : )

So into the distant future look out for me and my siblings, we will always be partners and we will always be five


I met a little cottage girl:

She was eight years old, she said;

Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,

And she was wildly clad:

Her eyes were fair, and very fair;

—Her beauty made me glad.

“Sisters and brothers, little maid,

How many may you be?”

“How many? Seven in all,” she said,

And wondering looked at me.

“And where are they? I pray you tell.”

She answered, “Seven are we;

And two of us at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea.

“Two of us in the churchyard lie,

My sister and my brother;

And, in the churchyard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother.”

“You run about, my little maid,

Your limbs they are alive;

If two are in the churchyard laid,

Then ye are only five.”

“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”

The little maid replied,

“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,

And they are side by side.

“The first that died was sister Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain;

And then she went away.

“So in the churchyard she was laid;

And, when the grass was dry,

Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.

“And when the ground was white with snow

And I could run and slide,

My brother John was forced to go,

And he lies by her side.”

“How many are you, then,” said I,

“If they two are in heaven?”

Quick was the little maid’s reply,

“O master! We are seven.”

“But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!”

‘Twas throwing words away; for still

The little maid would have her will,

And said, “Nay, we are seven!”

From William Wordsworth ‘We Are Seven’

Here are some other sibling groups and quotes from history…

The Kennedys

‘We know one another’s faults, virtues, catastrophes, mortifications, triumphs, rivalries, desires, and how long we can each hang by our hands to a bar. We have been banded together under pack codes and tribal laws.’ – Rose Macaulay

The Mitfords. One of my favourite books of all time is ‘The Mitford Girls’ by Mary S. Lovell

To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. – Clara Ortega

The four Bronte siblings. One of only two original paintings. You can just about make out the shape of Emily on the far right…

Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk. – Susan Scarf Merrell

Source: via Carol on Pinterest


It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea. – Dylan Thomas

 Do you agree with my thoughts on siblings?  What is your own number?  Have a lovely weekend everyone : )

15 thoughts on “Brothers & Sisters…”

  • Hi Jane, glad your brother recovering well. chainsaws such dangerous things.
    I love Wordsworth and I love that poem. siblings are precious… most of the time! and share so much the best of which is the humour which doesn’t necessarily make everyone laugh!
    Have a good weekend. d

  • I am sorry to hear about the accident and glad to hear your brother will recover. I still need to know the exact proper pronunciation so I can threaten my husband in the delivery room with that name need be.
    I have a sister and all is true. And also the reason why I felt I had to have another one. So that the siblings have someone to complain about their parents to.

    • Thanks Shalagh and sorry I didn’t get back to you on that, try saying ‘Collim'(quickly!) or ‘kolm’ it’s hard to explain! The Irish ‘Colum’ sounds more like ‘Cullum’…either way it’s ‘im’ at the end. Not sure I’m being any help at all, may be just confusing the issue even more for you!

  • A big thanks needs to be said to my girlfriends family, her dad, Gerard McGrath came to my rescue at full speed and half carried me across the fields and got me into town where my girlfriend Lisa, her Mum Bernadette and sister Elaine, who luckily is a nurse had rushed to meet us! Elaine stopped the blood, Bernadette did the worrying and Lisa raced me to Sligo whilst i just sat about. I’m gona need a bigger chainsaw!

  • Jane. Thank God Colm is ok. I am the youngest of five and now I have five of my own. I love the busyness and the assurance of company always. Love this post.

  • Wonderful post Jane. I am the eldest of 5 – me, 3 brothers and a sister – so we make the female bookends! And, 2 step brothers and 1 is my best friend and business partner.

    I loved what you wrote and particularly liked the potential of siblings connecting as they got older.

    I left home when I was 15 and have live in Ireland for nearly 20 years since I was 33 – and planning to move back to Oz so I can spend more time with my family.

    This post reminded me of the power of siblings and how much I want to see my brothers and sister after 5 years.


    • We share that in common then Liz! Thank you for the lovely comment, sounds like you have a memorable reunion ahead : )

  • Love this so much Jane and while i agree there are times when it can be hard, could not imagine ever being without any of you, the fact that we are so different just makes it interesting, my best buddies and partners in crime xxxxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *