Sibling Relationships Final

The phone stops ringing and at the top of the screen it says: “Sister Dear Facetime unavailable” and with a sigh, I tap the cancel button. Within the next minute, the ringing is back and it’s my little ‘Sister Dear’ Tiffany FaceTiming me back.

This year, Tiffany is a sophomore at the University of Omaha. I tap the answer button, she is wearing a towel and in the process of drying her hair. It’s 11pm. She likes to shower late, just like when all of our conversations happen. Late.

Yet, once the other answers it’s like we aren’t even apart. It immediately goes into a conversation about her day and the past other days just to catch me up on her life. Some days there just isn’t time for us to talk. “It’s really hard being here,” Tiffany said, “hard because sometimes I just want to talk to someone who understands everything about me, but I can’t because our schedules are different. When one person is free the other isn’t or sleeping or working . . . it’s just hard.” It’s the really bad days that get us to call another.

Long-distance sibling relationships aren’t your typical relationships because casual relationships fade over time sibling ties are forever. When you stop seeing a friend and you meet back up sometimes the relationship is still there but other times, the connection is just gone. You don’t really have that problem with siblings it’s just the family connection. You don’t have to talk or interact often because no matter what family ties last.

The thing is with FaceTime conversations they can last a while, compared to a quick phone conversation. Brayton Hagge, in her last year of college at Morningside, has a younger sister, Keely, who just started college at Doane. It was between Brayton’s classes when she got a call from her sister needing to talk to her as soon as she can.

Brayton agrees that sibling conversations are never chit-chat it’s always, “I had a really bad day can you listen to me?” or “OMG this just happened!” or “OMG I can’t believe this just happened to me.” or even “Hey, I just wanted to hear your voice.” those are the only times Brayton hears from Keely, and I hear from Tiffany. It’s the dramatic moments or the big moments in life that make long distance sibling relationships hard because you’re only in contact with those moments. Even then you hear about what happened it’s a couple of days late.

Telby, my boyfriend from Minnesota, thinks a little differently. His home in Minnesota is six hours away from Sioux City and he talks to his younger brother once or twice a week via phone call, snapchat, or text message. “I think it’s relaxing,” Telby laughs, “that means I don’t have to deal with Tyber [his brother] and his nonsense.”

Distance with siblings is a part of growing up and it can’t be avoided. There are ways to adjust to the distance such as setting aside time during the day to make plans to talk. Texting is also an option but it can be harder because other things can distract you while you’re texting, while a phone conversation is in the moment and present for the person and self.

The distance of being in another state is just different from other types of distance because according to Tiffany, “Going away, this time, is more permanent compared to an overnight trip or being gone for a week. You never know when you’re going to see the person again.”

For Brayton, she says it was hard studying abroad in Northern Ireland last year because she had to miss her sister’s high school graduation. Sure, Keely was mad that Brayton missed her graduation. Yet, the distance also brings people together.

“Now that Keely is in college it’s easier for us to relate now that we are dealing with the same challenges,” Brayton says.

Telby says, “Being apart has made our relationship better and I appreciate them more when I do spend with them.”

“Hey, I’m getting sleepy. Thanks for talking to me.” My sister says.

“No problem. Good night.” We blow each other kisses and then we hang up. It doesn’t get easier, but it’s all just a growing process. My little sister just isn’t so little anymore. We’re all just learning how to be on our own and sometimes we just need someone to hear us.