anne mikolay 2012 120Do you know what happens when you are off-line for a few days? You miss important things, like National Siblings Day.

National Siblings Day, April 10th, was started in 1997 by Claudia Evart, a Manhattan paralegal, to honor her deceased brother and sister (April 10th is her sister's birth date). The National Siblings Day Foundation, incorporated in 1998, hopes to make the day a national holiday, like Mother's Day and Father's Day. Since I did not know about National Siblings Day, I did not send my sister a card or flowers or even wish her well. As the kids say these days (if they still do), “my bad.” As my generation says, “better late than never.” So...Happy National Siblings Day to my sister, Jeannie!

My very first memory of my sister dates back to when I was around two years old, and she was about five. My Uncle Johnny was visiting; in an effort to entertain us, he tried to climb into my walker (at least I think it was a walker) and broke it. I recall being upset; my sister consoled me. My next memory jumps forward a few years to my pre-kindergarten days when my sister had her tonsils removed. The night my sister was released from the hospital, I could not wait for her to come home and play with me.  When Jeannie came in the door, however, her throat was sore, and she was too tired to play. That's about the only time I recall my sister disappointing me. Through the years, she has always been there for me. When I was little and afraid of the dark, she let me hold her hand until I fell asleep. When I couldn't understand math in high school and college (still don't get it!), she helped me with my assignments. As teenagers, we spent Saturday afternoons together walking to the department store to buy record albums or to the candy store to buy the latest issue of Tiger Beat magazine. We laughed and giggled together through our adolescence. As adults, we supported one another through the difficult journey that was our mother's illness and passing. Call me corny, but my sister is my best friend.

Jeannie is a nurse by profession, and a wife and mother who, along with her husband, raised three terrific kids. She goes out of her way to help people. No matter what she is doing, if her assistance is needed, she drops everything to be there for family and friends. I only wish I could be as good and inspiring as my sister is. You detect a bit of hero worship on my part, you say? Well, perhaps! I have long looked up to my sister. Again, she has always been there for me and rarely disappoints...wait a minute! Hold the phone! Now that I think of it, in my early childhood, there was a certain teddy bear incident made all the more traumatic by my sister. Long story short: when my mother threw out my beloved panda bear after it took an accidental swim in the toilet, my sister refused to give me her stuffed bear even though I begged her for it! And then there were the times we had vanilla cupcakes or glazed donuts instead of chocolate because Jeannie didn't care for chocolate...and the summer afternoons she left me alone while she went to Yankee Stadium to watch some guy named Bobby Murcer catch a ball...and all those episodes of Star Trek I was forced to watch because she liked Captain Kirk. Perhaps there were a few more disappointments along the way after-all!

All kidding aside, my point is clear: no family is perfect, no sibling relationship is smooth sailing. But if you have a sibling, as I do, you would be wise to express your appreciation once in a while. We shouldn't need National Siblings Day to remind us that brothers and sisters are special. In my case, my sister is a blessing.

Happy National Siblings Day, Jeannie...a wee bit late...but no less heart-felt. Next year, I'll remember to give you a card or a glazed donut!