As an only child growing up, I had many fantasies involving the discovery or acquisition of a sibling who would be my companion and playmate for the rest of my life.
This actually happened to my cousin, but when she was over 40, married, and had a child. Now she, previously an only child, and her half-brother have become family, getting to know each other as adults, having two totally different experiences growing up separately, biologically fathered by the same man.
Her story is similar to the plot of the new movie People Like Us, a relationship drama with Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pine, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
I saw this movie last week. Watching the movie and knowing that it was inspired by a similar experience writer/director Alex Kurtzman had himself an adult made me want to ask him all sorts of invasive questions. I was at a screening of the film, and he was present, but I behaved myself. I mean, we were invited to ask questions, but I felt like everything I wanted to know about him was pretty personal about his family.
Now I want to ask you guys about your half-siblings and about half-siblings your children may have. Aside from the crazy, “I didn’t know about my father’s love child until I was an adult” stories, I’m fascinated by the implicit unbalance of the relationship. One child is from the current marriage, while the other child is from a previously dissolved relationship. In other words, within the sibling pair, one person is a stepchild and the other is not.
In my own childhood, I was the stepchild. That word may have a negative connotation, but not in my experience. In fact on the positive side, I was in my family first. My dad lived another life before his current family, and I was there with him. I have known my stepmother longer than her own children, my half-siblings, have. I remember their births. After all, I was 8 and 11 years old.
I’m not sure I have much more to say about this — unless a therapist drags it out of me — but I’m curious about the experience of others. Is it better to be the older or the younger half-sibling?
Do you have any half-siblings? Does your child? Does the premise of this movie intrigue you for any other reason?
I recommend People Like Us, whose title Heather says People LIKE Us instead of People Like US, and I thank the folks at Dreamworks for hosting me for the screening and the Hilton Garden Inn in Hollywood for providing lodging.
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