National Siblings Day: April 10, 2023
The more complicated the world seems to become the more excuses we look for to celebrate. Holidays and special days bring meaning, nurture connections and give us something to look forward to and hope for. Of course there are the famous ones filled with spooky costumes, trimmed trees and seder plates, but if you research thoroughly enough, you can find a special day for just about anything; National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, Global Belly Laugh Day and in case you missed it January 11th was National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day. Our favorite though, falls on April 10th – National Siblings Day- celebrating the very special bond of support, friendship and love shared between siblings. At Friends of Karen the sibling relationship is one especially close to our hearts. The Sibling Support Specialists at Friends of Karen, are dedicated Child Life Specialists and Art Therapists who provide emotional support and illness education to the ill child and their siblings. While working with the Friends of Karen children, we see firsthand the layered, multifaceted connection. We see fierce loyalty and protectiveness. We see the compassion, jealousy, the inside jokes and teasing, the joy and giggles.
We also see how intensely the siblings are affected by the illness of their brother or sister. The diagnosis of a life threatening disease can send shockwaves throughout the family. Despite the very best efforts of their parents, so much focus and attention is paid to the ill children that often the siblings feel ignored, not special, unimportant and unseen. These children endure so much for those so young, yet they are forever inspiring us with their capacity for love.
- “When my mom takes my little brother to the hospital, I’m always afraid that he won’t come back.” 9 year old Jinni tells me when I ask what it is like to have a sibling with cancer.
- 5 year old Emilia shares her princess crowns with her sister so she can still feel pretty even after her hair fell out from the chemo.
- 6 year old Cooper sings along to his late brother’s favorite song as he imagines he is painting messages to him in the starry sky.
- 8 year old Rebecca makes sure to drop everything once she walks through the door after school because she knows her little brother is waiting to play Hide and Seek with her.
These are just some of the pearls in a treasure trove of stories belonging to the amazing Friends of Karen siblings. Equal parts heartwarming and bittersweet, what we see in these families is at times hard to imagine and other times looks a lot like ordinary life. Please join us in celebrating the wonderful siblings of Friends of Karen- we honor them for the heavy load they so often carry, for the much needed levity they bring with their silliness and humor and the support and comfort that only they can provide to their brothers and sisters.