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SIBLINGS: Special Connections

By Grandma Ellen

My granddaughter, Madeleine, now nine, has been begging for a sister since she was three years old.  Over the years, she has even told people that she was going to have a sister.  I think she thought that if she wished hard enough and made her wish public, it would be granted.  But no sister has emerged, and none will.  Madeleine is an only child.

 What is it about having a sibling that seemed so enticing to her?  She says that she is lonely and would like to have someone to share play and family experiences. But, more importantly, she understands intuitively that a sibling is someone with whom she would have a special bond, someone whom she could go to in time of need and expect to get help and empathy from with no questions asked.  A dear friend, of course, could also fulfill that role, but the blood bond is not there.

And that blood bond is the crux of the matter.  My dearest friend in St. Louis, my hometown, cuts her older brother a lot of slack.  He lives out of town, and when he visits, he often does not call her.  Or he calls her just when he is getting ready to leave, making it difficult, if not impossible, to get together with him.  But she doesn’t care because she says he is her only sibling and that bond is to be cherished.  They were brought up in the same household, share a value system, and know that in a crisis, each would come through for the other. 

I have an older brother who lives out of town and does not call, either.  But I call him two or three times a week because he is a bachelor and has no one else to take care of him.  My brother is the quintessence of the biblical description of man: that he was created in God’s image.  A more generous, sympathetic, kind, thoughtful human being does not walk this earth.  And I cherish him for those endearing qualities.

But, mostly, I cherish him just because he is my brother.


Ellen Blaustein Ellen Baron is a wife, mother and grandmother who has had three distinctive careers:
1) as an editor at an educational laboratory;
2) as a businesswoman who ran a private-label group at Black & Decker, and then served as Director of Marketing for a consumer electronics start-up company; and
3) as an academic administrator who was director of a post-baccalaureate business program.

Her 'Just Jobs' (as opposed to "Careers") included piano teacher and French tutor (her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis having been in French).

Now retired from both careers and jobs, Ellen serves on the Maryland State Attorney Grievance Commission, as well as the Boards of several non-profits. She has lived in England, Switzerland and Germany, as well as St. Louis, Boston, a suburb of Washington, D.C., and, now, Baltimore, MD.

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