While I continued to dissect this concept in relation to these two seemingly unrelated topics, I originally believed that, in this case, maybe we’re not all climbing up the same mountain. Maybe some of us are climbing a mountain where we feel unrealistically responsible for our siblings, maybe some of us are trekking up a mountain where sometimes it seems that our siblings haven’t even begun their ascent. Still others may be hiking up a terrain that is filled with anger, regret, confusion, and helplessness, while others feel that they are paving a new path up their own hill and the trip itself is making them a better person. I sat with this idea for a while. My thoughts were guided by a lecture that Claire, Renee, and I all listened to at summer camp in 2011 given by a woman who worked at a Massachusetts ARC (Association for Retarded Children). She told us that, in response to my question about siblings of residents who have autism, 50% of siblings are over-achievers, and 50% of siblings detest their siblings. At this point, Claire looked over at me, rolled her eyes, and whispered, “Ellie, you’re both!” Perhaps there are a multitude of strands that braid together in creating one's route upward.
I shall continue reading Huston Smith’s brilliant memoir, and, just as he did while I was in high school, he will continue to teach me not only about the world’s religions, but also about life, relationships, and challenges. I can now see that we, the siblings, are definitely climbing up the same mountain, however wide that mass of land may be. In bare emotion, we are all striving to see how our siblings fit into our lives, whether that be monetarily, emotionally, or in terms of relationships, with them and others. Whatever the trail, we are all scaling up a mountain influenced by a combination of a myriad of factors and experiences.
I am wholeheartedly excited to begin this study of the many different tracks that lead up this mountain of being a sib, and I am even more enthralled to see how they intertwine together and around each other.
Best, and thank you everyone for your continued support of this project.