As you reach older age, and – sadly – your parents die, who then is left who knows you the longest, and maybe the best, in some ways at least? Your siblings, if you’re lucky enough to have them, and for them to still be around. I am one of those lucky ones, and – of course – from time to time we get together in various large or smaller permutations of family groups. And for many years, that was that.

But about fifteen years ago, my sister had a light bulb moment. What about – she suggested – we three siblings get together? Just the three of us, no spouses, no children, no grandchildren, just us? At that time, between us we were in our fifties and sixties, and it suddenly sounded like an appealing idea – going back to the time when we had childish fun and fights together, and forward to feed our shared addiction of super-scrabble. In an appealing setting.

So, we rented an apartment with a lovely view, for a weekend, at a geographic point somewhere in the middle of where we were variously coming from Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra. And we played endless games of scrabble, had fun, wrangled, went for long walks, treated ourselves to café and take-away meals, covered lots of topics, shared memories of our parents and our past, and our families and the present, had relaxed silences in between. It was brilliant!

And so, over the years since, in amongst all those other family gatherings that we also enjoy, we have kept on having these occasional and lovely sibs’ weekends in different locations, this photo being taken at the most recent one, last October. Sometimes, it is in one or other of our homes, if the resident spouse anyway has to be somewhere else for some reason. And these times are always quite short – around three or so days. Before we can be seriously missed by said spouses.

And we go on doing them because we’ve come to realise that the special bond that we have should be savoured while we can, and doesn’t work in quite the same way when we’re in larger groups. It’s not that we’re children again, but that we’re old people who share a past with each other that is different to what we have with anybody else, and gives us an understanding of each other that no one else quite has. And making the most of that is so special.

However, when talking with other people about it, sibs’ exclusive time with each other does not appear to be a thing. I hope that by spreading the word through writing about it, it might become one. Try it and see!

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